BLACK IN SPACE
Disturbed by the lack of resources on African and Pan African space travel on the internet, we decided to create this page dedicated to Africans and other black people who had the privilege to travel to space. Their individual stories should inspire young and old to go beyond preconceptions, see further then Earth's horizons, and believe in their own dreams. These woman and man have travelled into space. Either as astronauts or as cosmonaut.
Arnaldo Tamayo Méndez (born January 29, 1942) was the first Cuban and the first person of African ancestry in space; he was proclaimed at the time as the first black cosmonaut. As a member of the crew of Soyuz 38, he became the first Cuban citizen and the first person from a country in the Western Hemisphere other than the United States to travel into earth orbit.
Born 29 January 1942 (Guantanamo, Cuba)
Time in space: 7d 20h 43m
Selection: 1978 Intercosmos Group
Missions: Soyuz 38
Frederick Drew Gregory (born January 7, 1941), (Col, USAF, Ret.), is a former United States Air Force pilot, military engineer, test pilot, and NASA astronaut as well as former NASA Deputy Administrator. He also served briefly as NASA Acting Administrator in early 2005, covering the period between the departure of Sean O’Keefe and the swearing in of Michael Griffin.
Born: January 7, 1941
Time in space: 18d 23h 04m
Selection: 1978 NASA Group 8
Missions: STS-51-B, STS-33, STS-44
Charles Frank Bolden, Jr. (born August 19, 1946) is the current Administrator of NASA, a retired United States Marine Corps Major General, and former NASA astronaut.
A 1968 graduate of the United States Naval Academy, he became a Marine Aviator and test pilot. After his service as an astronaut, he became Deputy Commandant of Midshipmen at the Naval Academy.
On May 23, 2009, President Barack Obama announced the nomination of Bolden as NASA Administrator and Lori Garver as Deputy NASA Administrator. Bolden was confirmed by the Senate on July 15, 2009. He is the first African American to head the agency on a permanent basis.
Bolden is also the virtual host of the Shuttle Launch Experience attraction at Kennedy Space Center and serves on the board of directors for the Military Child Education Coalition.
Born: August 19, 1946
Status: Retired (still works at NASA)
Time in space: 28d 08h 37m
Selection: 1980 NASA Group
Missions: STS-61-C, STS-31, STS-45, STS-60
Mae Carol Jemison (born October 17, 1956) is an American physician and NASA astronaut. She became the first African-American woman to travel in space when she went into orbit aboard the Space Shuttle Endeavour on September 12, 1992. After her medical education and a brief general practice, Jemison served in the Peace Corps from 1985 to 1987, when she was selected by NASA to join the astronaut corps. She resigned from NASA in 1993 to form a company researching the application of technology to daily life. She has appeared on television several times, including as an actress in an episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation. She is a dancer, and holds nine honorary doctorates in science, engineering, letters, and the humanities. She is the current principal of the 100 Year Starship organization.
Born: October 17, 1956
Time in space: 190 h 30 min 23 s
Selection: 1987 NASA Group
Bernard Anthony Harris Jr. (born June 26, 1956 in Temple, Texas) is a former NASA astronaut. On February 9, 1995, Harris became the first African American to perform an extra-vehicular activity (spacewalk), during the second of his two Space Shuttle flights.
Born: June 26, 1956
Time in space: 18 days 06 hours 08 minutes
Selection: 1990 NASA Group
Missions STS-55, STS-63
Robert Lee Curbeam, Jr. (born March 5, 1962) is a former NASA astronaut and captain in the United States Navy.
Curbeam graduated from Woodlawn High School, Baltimore County, Maryland in 1980. He earned a bachelor of science degree in aerospace engineering from the United States Naval Academy in 1984, a master of science degree in aeronautical engineering from the Naval Postgraduate School in 1990, and a master’s degree in astronautical engineering from the Naval Postgraduate School in 1991.
He is a member of the U.S. Naval Academy Alumni Association and the Association of Old Crows.
Curbeam was named Fighter Wing One Radar Intercept Officer of the Year in 1989 and received the U.S. Naval Test Pilot School Best Developmental Thesis (DT-II) Award.
He currently holds the record for the most spacewalks during a single spaceflight. During the STS-116 mission, Curbeam completed four spacewalks.
Born: March 5, 1962
Time in space: 37d 14h 33m 23s
Selection: 1994 NASA Group
Missions: STS-85, STS-98, STS-116
Michael Phillip Anderson (December 25, 1959 – February 1, 2003) was a United States Air Force officer and NASA astronaut, who was killed in the Space Shuttle Columbia disaster when the craft disintegrated after reentry into the Earth’s atmosphere.
Anderson was born in Plattsburgh, New York, into an Air Force family and grew up as a military aspirant. He attended high school in Cheney, Washington, while his father was stationed at Fairchild Air Force Base, west of Spokane.
Born: December 25, 1959
Died: February 1, 2003 (aged 43)
Time in space: 24d 18h 08m
Selection: 1994 NASA Group
Missions: STS-89, STS-107
Stephanie Diana Wilson (born September 27, 1966) is an American engineer and a NASA astronaut. She flew on her first mission in space on board the Space Shuttle mission STS-121, and is the second African American woman to go into space, after Mae Jemison.
Born: September 27, 1966
Time in space: 42 days, 23 hours, 46 minutes
Selection: 1996 NASA Group
Missions: STS-121, STS-120, STS-131
Joan Elizabeth Higginbotham (born August 3, 1964) is an American engineer and a former NASA astronaut. She flew aboard Space Shuttle Discovery mission STS-116 as a mission specialist.
Born: August 3, 1964
Time in space: 12d 20h 45m
Selection: 1996 NASA Group
Colonel Benjamin Alvin Drew (born November 5, 1962) is a United States Air Force officer and a NASA astronaut. He has been on two spaceflights; the first was the Space Shuttle mission STS-118 to the International Space Station, in August 2007. Drew’s second spaceflight took place in March 2011 on STS-133, another mission to the International Space Station. STS-133 was Space Shuttle Discovery’s final mission. Drew took part in two spacewalks while docked to the station. Drew was the final African-American to fly on board a Space Shuttle, as the final two Space Shuttle missions, STS-134 and STS-135, had no African-American crew members.
Drew was selected to be an astronaut in NASA’s Astronaut Group 18 in July 2000. Following his rookie spaceflight, Drew spent almost a year at the Yuri Gagarin Cosmonauts Training Center in Star City, Russia, overseeing NASA’s training operations there as Director of Operations.
On February 28, 2011, Drew became the 200th person to walk in space, when he conducted the first spacewalk of the STS-133 mission with fellow astronaut Steve Bowen.
Status: NASA Management
Born: November 5, 1962
Time in space: 25 days, 13 hours
Selection: 2000 NASA Group
Missions: STS-118, STS-133
Leland Devon Melvin (born February 15, 1964 in Lynchburg, Virginia) is an American engineer and a NASA astronaut. He served on board the Space Shuttle Atlantis as a mission specialist on STS-122, and as mission specialist 1 on STS-129. Melvin was named the NASA Associate Administrator for Education in October 2010.
Melvin attended Heritage High School and then went on to the University of Richmond on a football scholarship, where he received a bachelor’s degree in Chemistry. In 1991 he received a Master of Science degree in Materials Science Engineering, from the University of Virginia. His parents, Deems and Grace Melvin, reside in Lynchburg, Virginia. His recreational interests include photography, piano, reading, music, cycling, tennis, and snowboarding. Melvin appeared as an elimination challenge guest judge in the 12th episode of Top Chef (season 7), with his dogs in the seventh season of The Dog Whisperer., and was the host of Child Genius (season 1 and 2). He is the president of the Spaceship Earth Grants, a public benefit corporation whose mission is to make space more accessible through human spaceflight and parabolic flight awards to individual applicants.
Born: February 15, 1964
Time in space: 23d 13h 28 m
Selection: 1998 NASA Group
Missions: STS-122, STS-129
Robert Lee “Bobby” Satcher, Jr. (born September 22, 1965) is a physician, chemical engineer, and NASA astronaut. He became the first orthopedic surgeon in space during STS-129. He participated in 2 spacewalks during STS-129, accumulating 12hrs 19min of EVA time. Satcher holds two doctorates (Ph.D., M.D.) and has received numerous awards and honors as a surgeon and engineer. He is married and has two children. Bobby Satcher enjoys running, scuba diving, and reading.
Born September 22, 1965
Time in space: 10d 19h 16m
Selection 2004 NASA Group 19