DR. GUION STEWARD BLUFORD
November 22, 1942
First Official African American Astronaut to make flight into Space.
He was the first African American astronaut to fly in space. His first space flight was on STS-8, launched August 30, 1983, where he served as a mission specialist. This was the first flight with both a nighttime launch and landing. His actual mission was the first to carry eight crew members, the largest crew to fly in space, and included three European payload specialists. This was the first dedicated Spacelab mission under the direction of the German Aerospace Research Establishment (DFVLR) and the first U.S. mission in which payload control was transferred to a foreign country (German Space Operations Center).
Dr.Guion Steward Bluford, Jr. was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, on November 22, 1942. His mother, Lolita was a special education teacher and his father, Guion Sr. was a mechanical engineer. The Blufords encouraged all four of their sons to work hard and set their goals high. Guy, certainly did.
Guion has a bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees in aerospace engineering and a master’s in business administration from Penn State University in 1964. He went into the Air Force ROTC and graduated.
He attended pilot training at Williams Air Force Base, Arizona, and received his pilot wings in January 1966. He then went to F 4C combat crew training in Arizona and Florida and was assigned to the 557th Tactical Fighter Squadron, Cam Ranh Bay, Vietnam. He flew 144 combat missions, 65 of which were over North Vietnam.
In July 1967, he was assigned to the 3630th Flying Training Wing, Sheppard Air Force Base, Texas, as a T-38A instructor pilot. He served as a standardization/evaluation officer and as an assistant flight commander. In early 1971, he attended Squadron Officers School and returned as an executive support officer to the Deputy Commander of Operations and as School Secretary for the Wing.
In August 1972, he entered the Air Force Institute of Technology residency school at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio. Upon graduating in 1974, he was assigned to the Air Force Flight Dynamics Laboratory at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio, as a staff development engineer. He served as Deputy for Advanced Concepts for the Aeromechanics Division and as Branch Chief of the Aerodynamics and Airframe Branch in the Laboratory.
He has written and presented several scientific papers in the area of computational fluid dynamics.
He applied to be part of NASA’s budding shuttle program in the late 1970s and told interviewers he became interested in airplanes and spacecraft as a child
He was accepted into the program and became a NASA astronaut in August 1979. His technical assignments have included working with space station operations, the Remote Manipulator System (RMS), Spacelab systems and experiments, space shuttle systems, payload safety issues and verifying flight software in the Shuttle Avionics Integration Laboratory (SAIL) and in the Flight Systems Laboratory (FSL). A veteran of four space flights, Bluford was a mission specialist on STS-8, STS 61-A, STS-39 and STS-53.
His first mission was STS-8, which launched from Kennedy Space Center, Florida, on August 30, 1983. This was the third flight for the orbiter Challenger and the first mission with a night launch and night landing. During the mission, the STS-8 crew deployed the Indian National Satellite (INSAT-1B), operated the Canadian-built RMS with the Payload Flight Test Article (PFTA), operated the Continuous Flow Electrophoresis System (CFES) with live cell samples, conducted medical measurements to understand biophysiological effects of spaceflight and activated four “Getaway Special” canisters. STS-8 completed 98 orbits of the Earth in 145 hours before landing at Edwards Air Force Base, California, on September 5, 1983.
He then served on the crew of STS 61-A, the German D-1 Spacelab mission, which launched from Kennedy Space Center, Florida, on October 30, 1985. This mission was the first to carry eight crew members, the largest crew to fly in space, and included three European payload specialists. This was the first dedicated Spacelab mission under the direction of the German Aerospace Research Establishment (DFVLR) and the first U.S. mission in which payload control was transferred to a foreign country (German Space Operations Center, Oberpfaffenhofen, Germany). During the mission, the Global Low Orbiting Message Relay Satellite (GLOMR) was deployed from a “Getaway Special” (GAS) container, and 76 experiments were performed in Spacelab in such fields as fluid physics, materials processing, life sciences, and navigation. After completing 111 orbits of the Earth in 169 hours, Challenger landed at Edwards Air Force Base, California, on November 6, 1985.
He also served on the crew of STS-39, which launched from the Kennedy Space Center, Florida, on April 28, 1991, aboard the orbiter Discovery. The crew gathered aurora, Earth-limb, celestial, and shuttle environment data with the AFP-675 payload. This payload consisted of the Cryogenic Infrared Radiance Instrumentation for Shuttle (CIRRIS-1A) experiment, Far Ultraviolet Camera experiment (FAR UV), the Uniformly Redundant Array (URA), the Quadrupole Ion Neutral Mass Spectrometer (QINMS), and the Horizon Ultraviolet Program (HUP) experiment. The crew also deployed and retrieved the SPAS-II which carried the Infrared Background Signature Survey (IBSS) experiment. The crew also operated the Space Test Payload-1 (STP-1) and deployed a classified payload from the Multi-Purpose Experiment Canister (MPEC). After completing 134 orbits of the Earth and 199 hours in space, Discovery landed at Kennedy Space Center, Florida, on May 6, 1991.
On his last flight, he served on the crew of STS-53 which launched from Kennedy Space Center, Florida, on December 2, 1992. The crew of five deployed the classified Department of Defense payload DOD-1 and then performed several Military-Man-in-Space and NASA experiments. After completing 115 orbits of the Earth in 175 hours, Discovery landed at Edwards Air Force Base, California, on December 9, 1992.
He left NASA in 1993 to work in the aerospace industry in Cleveland and became president of the Aerospace Technology Group, an engineering consulting firm, in 2002. He and his wife live in Westlake.
He was inducted into the International Space Hall of Fame in 1997 and the U.S. Astronaut Hall of Fame in 2010.
He was once quoted as saying that as America’s first black astronaut in space, he wanted to “set the standard” and make others comfortable with African-Americans who followed him. In 2004, he told a historian he felt privileged to be a role model for African-American and other children.
1960 Graduated from Overbrook Senior High School in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
1964 Bachelor of Science degree in aerospace engineering from Pennsylvania State University.
1974 Master of Science degree with distinction in aerospace engineering from the Air Force Institute of Technology.
1978 Doctor of Philosophy in aerospace engineering with a minor in laser physics from the Air Force Institute of Technology.
1987 Master Degree in business administration from the University of Houston, Clear Lake.
1993- 1998 The Great Lakes Science Center National Research Council (NRC) Aeronautics and Space Engineering Board,
1997-2001 Fellow, American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics; Board of Governors, National Space Club
1997-2002 Board of Directors, National Inventor’s Hall of Fame Foundation 1997-2003
1995-2001 Board of Directors, The Western Reserve Historical Society Board of Directors, Board of Directors, American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics.
2000-2006 Board of Directors, U.S. Space Foundation Life Director
2005-present Board of Directors, ENSCO Inc. (2005 to present). And many others.
1999-2008 Board of Trustees, The Aerospace Corporation
1986-present Society of Distinguished Alumni, Pennsylvania State University
1986-2006 Committee on Minority Activities, College of Engineering,
1995-present Pennsylvania State University Leadership Cleveland Board of Visitors, Hiram College, (2004 to 2009);
2006-2010 Board of Advisors, Coalition for Space Exploration
Tau Beta Pi; Omicron Delta Kappa; Sigma Iota Epsilon; National Technical Association and Tuskegee Airmen.
SPECIAL HONORS:1962 Presented the Leadership Award of Phi Delta Kappa
1965 the National Defense Service Medal the Vietnam Campaign Medal 1967the Vietnam Cross of Gallantry with Palm
1967 the Vietnam Service Medal
1967 Ten Air Force Air Medals
1967,1967 and 1970Three Air Force Outstanding Unit Awards
1969 the German Air Force Aviation Badge from the Federal Republic of West Germany
1970 the T-38 Instructor Pilot of the Month
1970 the Air Training Command Outstanding Flight Safety Award
1972 the Air Force Commendation Medal
1974 Force Institute of Technology’s Mervin E. Gross Award
1978 the Air Force Meritorious Service Award
1979 the National Society of Black Engineers Distinguished National Scientist Award
1983, 1985, 1991 and 1992 NASA Space Flight Medals
1983 the Ebony Black Achievement Award
1983 NAACP Image Award
1983 the City of Philadelphia’s Philadelphia Bowl
1991 Black Engineer of the Year Award;
1992 NASA Exceptional Service Medal
1993 National Intelligence Medal of Achievement .
Nasa archives, Hills Air force Base files, Wiki, African American black History, Johnson Publishing Archives.