First african american to travel to space

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Next April, astronaut Jessica Watkins will become the first black woman to join the crew of the International Space Station (ISS). It’s good news, but it’s inevitable that she’s late – how can it be that no other has done so since it was launched into orbit in 1998?

Actually, the first people on the International Space Station were all white men. Surprise to no one. We didn’t have to wait long to see the first woman there, but we had to wait a bit longer until the first black person arrived.

In general, pioneers of different minorities in space have come and gone in dribs and drabs. And, of course, the International Space Station is no exception. That’s why today is a good day to talk about Jessica Watkins, the first black woman on the ISS, but also to remember all those people who, before her, were tearing down the obstacles on a journey beyond Earth.

Soviet cosmonaut Valentina Tereshkova was the first woman to go into space. She did so in 1963, aboard the Vostok 6, where she completed up to 48 orbits around our planet in a journey that lasted 3 days.

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Graduated in 1956 from the aviation school in Orenburg with MiG-15 training and later promoted to lieutenant. With 265 accumulated flight hours he entered the Soviet Union Space Program where he was approved among 154 applicants for the Vostok Program.

While the United States was preparing the Atlas missile, with an orbital payload capacity of more than one ton, the Soviets were engaged in the Vostok project. This program comprised a piloted spacecraft and two reconnaissance satellites.

Among the first Vostok runs was Korabl-Sputnik 2, which carried the dogs Belka and Strekla into orbit and brought them back to Earth. However, in 1960, of the five launches that went into orbit, only two returned.

Finally, however, in 1961 the Soviet authorities approved the launch of a human-crewed Vostok spacecraft into space. For this project, Yuri Gagarin was designated as pilot and Gherman Titov as backup.


U.S. Air Force Lt. Col. Guion S. Bluford became the first African American to travel into space when the space shuttle Challenger lifts off on its third mission.

In 1964, he graduated from Penn State with a degree in aerospace engineering, decided he would need to know how to fly airplanes if he wanted to build them, entered the U.S. Air Force and graduated with his pilot’s wings in 1965.

Bluford was assigned to a combat squadron in Vietnam, where he flew 144 combat missions.  After combat service, he became a flight instructor and in the 1970s received a master’s degree and Ph.D. in aerospace engineering from the Air Force Institute of Technology.

He later flew three more shuttle missions, logging a total of 700 hours in orbit, after returning from NASA, he became vice president and general manager of an engineering firm in Ohio.

Black Holes: A Journey into the Unknown

Alan Bartlett Shepard, Jr. better known as Alan Shepard (New Hampshire, United States; November 18, 1923-Pebble Beach, California; July 21, 1998), was one of the group known as the “Mercury Seven”, the first American astronauts.[1][2] He was the fifth man to set foot on the Moon and the second to be launched into space, after Soviet Yuri Gagarin.

On May 5, 1961 (23 days after Soviet cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin’s first orbital flight), Shepard made a suborbital flight aboard the Mercury Redstone 3 spacecraft capsule (for which the then premier of the Soviet Union, Nikita Khrushchev, scoffed at the mere “flea jump”). Unlike Gagarin’s flight, Shepard had some control over his suborbital transport (especially in terms of altitude) and landed inside his craft, thus becoming the first full spaceflight by definitions passed by the Fédération Aéronautique Internationale.[3][4]Due to this fact, Americans consider him the first U.S. astronaut (although the first proper American orbital flight was made by John Glenn aboard Friendship 7 on February 20, 1962). Shepard’s spacecraft reached an altitude of 187 km, in a flight that lasted 15 minutes (compared to Gagarin’s 357 km maximum altitude and 1:48 h.).

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