Astronaut Training Pays Off at 90: Ed Dwight Finally Reaches Space, Making History as Oldest to Ever Do It

Sixty years after being selected as a candidate to become the first African-American astronaut, Edward Dwight finally realized his dream by blasting off with Blue Origin on Sunday. At 91 years old, Dwight made history as the oldest person to ever travel to space, surpassing Star Trek actor William Shatner’s previous record. Riding aboard the New Shepherd rocket, Dwight experienced a 10-minute flight above the Kármán Line, the boundary separating Earth’s atmosphere from outer space. Overwhelmed by the experience, he told NPR, “Fantastic! A life-changing experience. Everyone needs to do this! I didn’t know I needed this in my life, but now I need it in my life.”

Dwight’s journey to space has been a long and inspiring one. During the Kennedy Administration, he was selected as a promising candidate for NASA’s Astronaut Group 3, receiving thousands of letters addressed to ‘Astronaut Dwight, Kansas City.‘ Despite accumulating over 9,000 flight hours and holding an aeronautics degree from Arizona State University, Dwight was not ultimately chosen to go to space. Instead, he pursued a successful career as an artist and sculptor. His long-awaited journey to space was made possible by a group of benefactors who honored his contributions and legacy. Now, Dwight’s ambition extends even further: “I want to go into orbit. I want to go around the Earth and see the whole Earth. That’s what I want to do now,” he shared with NPR.

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