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Blue Origin launches historic flight to space

“It’s been a long time,” Ed Dwight, 90, said after the spaceflight.

Ed Dwight, America’s first Black astronaut candidate, became the oldest person to go to space on Sunday as Blue Origin launched its New Shepard NS-25 spacecraft and made its first human flight since 2022 .

Dwight, 90, made his first trip to space more than 60 decades after President John F. Kennedy appointed him in 1961 to the elite Aerospace Research Pilot School – the Space Research Program. Air Force from which NASA astronauts were chosen. Although he was recommended by the Air Force, Dwight was not chosen for the NASA astronaut corps following the Kennedy assassination.

The new Shepard NS-25 was Blue Origin’s seventh human flight to space. This flight made Dwight the oldest person to make the round trip to space.

“It’s been a long time,” Dwight said as he exited the capsule Sunday, pumping his fist in the air after landing in the remote Texas desert.

“It was absolutely awesome. I thought I really didn’t need it in my life, but now I need it in my life. I’m thrilled,” Dwight said. “It was a life-changing experience. Everyone has to do this.”

The New Shepard NS-25 with five other passengers on board took off from Texas at 10:36 a.m. ET.

It was Blue Origin’s seventh human flight, but the first since the Federal Aviation Administration grounded the space tourism program after a mid-flight failure in September 2022 during an uncrewed research mission.

After entering private life in 1966, Dwight spent a decade as an entrepreneur before later becoming a sculptor of historical black figures.

Dwight’s seat on the flight is sponsored by the nonprofit Space for Humanity.

Charles Bolden, NASA’s first black administrator and an astronaut who flew on four missions himself, wished Dwight good luck on his flight Saturday evening.

“You’ve waited a long time for this opportunity and all of us who stand on your shoulders couldn’t be happier,” Bolden told ABC News, emphasizing the word “a long time.” “I know how much you’ve dreamed of this and I want you to take some time while you’re flying to suck it all up and figure it all out. You deserve every moment of this. You’ve been a role model and mentor for many years. between us for so long and we are with you in spirit.”

The launch window opened at 8:30 a.m. Central Time from West Texas.

Dwight was joined by Mason Angel, the founder of venture capital fund Industrious Ventures; Sylvain Chiron, founder of Brasserie Mont Blanc; Kenneth Hess, software engineer and entrepreneur; Carol Schaller, retired accountant; and Gopi Thotakura, aviator and founder of Preserve Life Corp.

Actor William Shatner was previously the oldest person to fly in space. He was 90 years and 206 days old when he completed a previous Blue Origin flight on October 13, 2021. Dwight will be 90 years and 253 days old on Sunday.

John Glenn, at 77, remains the oldest person to have been put into orbit. Blue Origin travels just above the Karman Line, about 62 miles above Earth and NASA’s definition of space, while Glenn went 100 miles higher aboard the space shuttle Discovery in 1998.

ABC News’ Gina Sunseri contributed to this report.

News Source : abcnews.go.com
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