Guion Stewart Bluford Jr., an aerospace engineer, retired US Air Force Officer, Fighter Pilot and former NASA astronaut who was born November 22, 1942 is the first African American and second person of African Descent to go to space. He spent a total of 28 days, 16 hours, 33 minutes in space.
After he was officially selected to become a NASA astronaut in 1979, his first mission was the STS-8 which launched from the Kennedy Space Centre in Florida on August 1983. The STS-8 completed 98 orbits of the earth in 145 hours and eventually landed at the Edwards Air Force Base in California on September 5, 1983. His other space missions were STS-61-A, STS-39 and STS-53.
Born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, he bagged a Bachelor of Science degree in aerospace engineering from Penn State University in 1964, a Master’s of Science degree in aerospace engineering from the US Air Force Institute of Technology (AFIT) in 1974, a Doctor of Philosophy degree in Aerospace Eng with a minor in Laser Physics from AFIT in 1978 and Master of BA degree from Uni of Houston-Clear Lake in 1987.
After his retirement from the Air Force and NASA in 1993, he was inducted into the Int’l Space Hall of Fame in 1997, The United States Astronaut Hall of Fame in 2010 and National Aviation Hall of Fame in 2019.