List of African-American astronauts
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Traveled into space
|Note||Missions (launch date)||Sources|
November 22, 1942
|First African-American astronaut in space|||
October 21, 1950
†January 28, 1986
|Died in the Space Shuttle Challenger disaster|||
|3||Frederick D. Gregory
January 7, 1941
|First African American to pilot and command a Space Shuttle mission; acting Administrator of NASA, 2005|||
August 19, 1946
|Administrator of NASA, July 17, 2009 – January 20, 2017|||
October 17, 1956
|First African-American woman in space||
|6||Bernard A. Harris Jr.
June 26, 1956
|First African American to walk in space|||
|7||Winston E. Scott
August 6, 1950
|Veteran of three spacewalks|||
March 5, 1962
|Veteran of seven spacewalks|||
|9||Michael P. Anderson
December 25, 1959
†February 1, 2003
|Died in the Space Shuttle Columbia disaster|||
September 27, 1966
August 3, 1964
November 5, 1962
|Veteran of two spacewalks, February 28 and March 2, 2011|||
|13||Leland D. Melvin
February 15, 1964
|Associate Administrator for Education at NASA|||
September 22, 1965
|EVA November 19 and November 23, 2009||
Never traveled into space
|Robert Henry Lawrence Jr.
October 2, 1935
†December 8, 1967
|First African-American astronaut; selected for astronaut training in 1967 for the MOL program; died in an aircraft accident|||
|Livingston L. Holder, Jr.
September 29, 1956
|USAF astronaut in the Manned Spaceflight Engineer Program|||
|Michael E. Belt
September 9, 1957
|Astronaut, payload specialist from TERRA SCOUT – US Army Project; retired January 12, 1991|||
April 24, 1959
|Jeanette J. Epps
November 2, 1970
On January 5, 2016 NASA announced that Epps would become the first African-American space station crew member when she launched on her would-be first spaceflight in May 2018, as a flight engineer on Expedition 56, remaining on board for Expedition 57. On January 16, 2018, NASA announced that Epps had been replaced by her backup Serena M. Auñón-Chancellor, due to unknown reasons, and has sparked various media attention.
|Victor J. Glover
April 30, 1976
|Scheduled to fly on Expedition 62 on USCV-1|||
May 14, 1988
|Astronaut, NASA Astronaut Group 22|||
Often cited as the first African-American astronaut candidate
September 9, 1933
|Ed Dwight made it to the second round of an Air Force program from which NASA selected astronauts, but was not selected by NASA to be an astronaut. Resigned from the Air Force in 1966 due to racial politics. In July, 1961, Frederick Dutton, special assistant to the president, wrote to Adam Yarmolinsky, special assistant to the secretary of defense to say that it was important "that for symbolic purposes in crossing the frontiers of space, this country would have qualified members from minority backgrounds." Shortly after, General Curtis LeMay, chief of the air force told Chuck Yeager, who was running Aerospace Research Pilot School (ARPS) at Edwards Air Force Base that, "[Attorney General] Bobby Kennedy wants a colored in space. Get one into your course." This communication placed Ed Dwight on a career track that could have sent him into outer space. Dwight proceeded to Phase II of ARPS, but was not selected by NASA to be an astronaut.|||
- "NASA's African-American Astronauts Fact Sheet" (PDF). National Aeronautics and Space Administration. 2018. Retrieved February 22, 2019.
- Oberg, James H. (2005-02-23). "The Unsung Astronaut". MSNBC. Retrieved 2011-01-27.
- Hoffman, Sarah (March 7, 2019). "A Space Pioneer Charts A Course For Future Astronauts". KCTS9. Retrieved March 11, 2019.
He became a satellite countdown controller, worked on classified missions and earned a position with the competitive Manned Spaceflight Engineer program. While training as an astronaut, he witnessed the faces of NASA’s space shuttle program shift to include women and minorities, along with the white men who first inspired him.
- Phillips, Kerri (February 8, 2012). "Celebrating Black History Month: NASA's African-American Astronauts". AmericaSpace. Retrieved March 11, 2019.
Four other African-Americans were selected by NASA as astronauts that did not have the opportunity to fly in space: Livingston Holder, Michael E. Belt, Yvonne Cagle, and Jeanette J. Epps. Each of these dedicated people believed in the advancement of human knowledge and space exploration, and some made the ultimate sacrifice doing what they felt was worth the risk for this endeavor.
- "Victor J. Glover, Jr. (Commander, U.S. Navy) NASA Astronaut". NASA. August 13, 2018. Retrieved March 11, 2019.
- Garcia, Mark (2017-06-06). "Astronaut Candidate Jessica Watkins". NASA. Retrieved 2017-06-07.
- We Could Not Fail: The First African Americans in the Space Program, Chapter 5, University of Texas Press, Austin, TX, 2015, pp. 86-104