In September 1992, Dr. Mae Jemison became the first African-American woman to fly into outer space when she went into orbit on board the Space Shuttle Endeavour. Jemison was born in 1956 in Decatur, Alabama, moving to Chicago with her family when she was only three years old. She earned a bachelor of science in... Continue Reading →

In 2002, astronaut John Herrington became the first enrolled member of a Native American tribe to travel into outer space. (William R. Pogue, who flew into outer space during the 1970s as the pilot for the Skylab 4 mission, was of Choctaw ancestry; however, he was not an enrolled member of the Choctaw.) As a... Continue Reading →

In 1986, astronaut Franklin R. Chang Díaz became the first Hispanic-American to travel into outer space when he flew on board the Space Shuttle Columbia. Chang Díaz, the son of a father of Chinese descent and a mother who is Costa Rican, was born in San José, Costa Rica, in 1950. He moved to the... Continue Reading →

May 18, 1997 The STS-84 spaceflight mission was very much in progress three days after its seven-member crew lifted off from John F. Kennedy Space Center (KSC) in Florida on board Space Shuttle Atlantis. This mission was part of the Shuttle-Mir Program, a collaborative effort between the United States and Russia that included having American... Continue Reading →

At a press conference at the Dolley Madison House in Washington, D.C., the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) officially introduced the first group of American astronauts. These astronauts would take part in the human spaceflight program called Project Mercury. “Seven young military pilots were presented today as the nation’s future pioneers in space,” reported... Continue Reading →

Geraldyn “Jerrie” M. Cobb, a well-established female trailblazer of the skies, was born in Norman, Oklahoma. Her father was a pilot and, with his encouragement, she developed a strong interest in aviation at an early age. By the time she was 12, Cobb was learning how to fly in her father’s 1936 Waco Aircraft Company... Continue Reading →

Alvin Drew, an African-American NASA astronaut, became the 200th person to walk in space. He conducted this spacewalk as a member of the six-person crew on STS-133, the 39th and final mission of Space Shuttle Discovery. Drew’s milestone excursion outside a spacecraft in orbit took place just a little over 16 years after fellow astronaut... Continue Reading →

Dr. Bernard A. Harris Jr., a NASA astronaut, became the first African-American to walk in space. He accomplished this as a member of the six-person crew on STS-63, the first joint American-Russian space program mission and the 20th flight of the Space Shuttle Discovery. The mission lasted just over eight days, and on the sixth... Continue Reading →

In 1995, Michael López-Alegría became the first Spanish-American to fly into outer space. López-Alegría, who had been born in Madrid in 1958, grew up in Mission Viejo, California. He enlisted in the U.S. Navy, earning a B.S. in systems engineering from the U.S. Naval Academy in 1980 and an M.S. in aeronautical engineering from the... Continue Reading →

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