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Ed Dwight, an Air Force pilot, was selected to be the first Black astronaut in 1961. In addition to having the backing of President John F. Kennedy, who wanted to expand the nation's space program, he graduated in the top half of his class. Regretfully, Dwight was overlooked; many people blame this decision on racism and the political climate of the day. Now, more than sixty years later, Dwight's wish has been realised. He is now the oldest person to have ever travelled to space, having reached the age of 90. Dwight took to the skies in the New Shepard rocket of Blue Origin. He experienced a suborbital flight for 10 minutes, experiencing brief weightlessness, as he ascended to over 347,000 feet. The 25th mission of Blue Origin and the seventh human spaceflight involved the former Air Force pilot. During his Air Force career, Dwight had only flown up to 80,000 feet in test flights; this time, he reached four times the altitude, giving him a newfound appreciation for the Earth's curvature. 

"Long time coming," Dwight exclaimed as he came to and raised his fists in the air. Shortly after, he told the media about the encounter, saying, "Wonderful! An encounter that would change my life. This is something that everyone must do! "I didn't know I needed this in my life, but I do now," he continued.

He told NPR that even though he has always been regarded as an astronaut, he now has bragging rights. "I've been called an astronaut for all these years, but it's a whole different story now that I have a little [astronaut] pin." He wanted more because the experience was so exhilarating. "I'd like to enter orbit. I wish to travel around the planet and take in its entirety. I want to do that right now," he declared.

Dwight did manage to have a successful career in other fields in spite of his previous setbacks. He went on to become a restaurateur and real estate developer after leaving the Air Force in 1966. Later on, he rose to fame as a sculptor, drawing inspiration for his creations from notable Black historical personalities. Regarding the space program, it wasn't until Lt. Col. Guion S. Bluford Jr. travelled there in 1983 that the United States launched a Black astronaut into space.

Regarding the significance of his space flight, he told The New York Times, "Everything I've done has been an uphill battle: getting into the military and being an Air Force pilot, getting chosen by the president of the United States to be the first Black astronaut, and facing all kinds of obstacles in the years that I was in that program." “Then, after I left the Air Force, I came to Colorado and became a big-time businessman—and then started an art career at the age of 45. My whole life has been about getting things done. This is the culmination.” 

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