- On 30 August, 1983, U.S. Air Force Lieutenant Colonel Guion S. Bluford made history
- Bluford became the first African American to travel into space
- It was the first night launch and many stayed up late to watch the history moment
On this day, 36 years ago, many Americans watched at 2:32 am as Lieutenant Colonel Guion S. Bluford made history by becoming the first African American to go into space.
Bluford was on the Challenger - which became the first space shuttle to launch at night, History.com reported.
Bluford and his four crew members were in space for six days where they launched a communications satellite for the Indian government of India.
They were also tasked with making contact with an errant communications satellite, as well as conducting scientific experiments and testing the shuttle's robotic arm.
Briefly.co.za learned the shuttle returned back on 5 September, 1983, where it touched down at the Edwards Air Force Base in California.
Bluford, who hailed from Philadelphia, was 41 when he went into space. However, his passion for aviation started at a young age and he dreamed of designing and building airplanes.
He pursued a degree in aerospace engineering at Penn State, where he graduated in 1964. A year later Bluford received his wings after he entered the U.S. Air Force with the aim to learn how to fly.
In 979, Bluford joined the U.S. astronaut programme and in 1983 he made his first flight as a mission specialist on the eighth shuttle mission.
Bluford went on to log 700 hours in orbit in three more shuttle missions. Thereafter, he became the VP and general manager of an Ohio-based engineering company.
Enjoyed reading our story? Download BRIEFLY's news app on Google Play now and stay up-to-date with major South African news!