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Ed Dwight, NASA’s First Black Astronaut Candidate, Is Finally Ready to Go to Space on Blue Origin

Blue Origin is preparing to launch New Shepard NS-25, its seventh human flight, into space on Sunday with 90-year-old Ed Dwight, the United States’ first black astronaut candidate, on board.

This will be Dwight’s first flight to space, making him the oldest person to take this trip.

President John F. Kennedy nominated Dwight in 1961 to the elite Aerospace Research Pilot School – the Air Force program from which NASA astronauts were chosen – but although he was recommended by the Air Force, he was not chosen for the NASA astronaut corps, according to Blue Origin.

PHOTO: In this March 31, 2022, file photo, a Blue Origin New Shepard rocket launches from Launch Site No. 1 in West Texas.

In this March 31, 2022, file photo, a Blue Origin New Shepard rocket launches from Launch Site #1 in West Texas.

Patrick T. Fallon/AFP via Getty Images, FILE

After entering private life in 1966, he 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.”

PHOTO: NS-25 astronauts (from left) Sylvain Chiron, Ken Hess, Ed Dwight, Gopi Thotakura, Mason Angel and Carol Schaller, at the astronaut village on May 17, 2024.

NS-25 astronauts (from left) Sylvain Chiron, Ken Hess, Ed Dwight, Gopi Thotakura, Mason Angel and Carol Schaller, at the astronaut village on May 17, 2024.

Blue origin

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

Dwight will be joined by Mason Angel, 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.

PHOTO: In this April 13, 1963 file photo, Captain Ed Dwight stands in front of the F-104 jet fighter.

In this April 13, 1963 file photo, Captain Ed Dwight stands in front of the F-104 jet fighter.

Bettmann Archives/Getty Images, FILE

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.

ABC News

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