August 30, 1983: The Day Guion Bluford Made History

On the morning of August 30, 1983, aboard NASA’s Challenger, Guion “Guy” Bluford, Jr. made history. Growing up in Philadelphia, Guion was fascinated with flying and was determined that one day he would become a pilot.

He never gave up on that dream, and it took him farther than he ever imagined.

Bluford first receiving his pilot wings in 1966, went on to fly 144 combat missions during the Vietnam War. Shortly afterward, he became a highly respected instructor pilot and, years later, earned the rank of Colonel. He wasn’t done there, however.

After accepted into NASA’s astronaut program from more than 8,000 applicants, Bluford underwent rigorous training in preparation for the relaunching of the space program. He was selected for space flight on the Challenger space shuttle, and on August 30, 1983 he became the first African American in space.

Between then and his retirement from NASA in 1993, Bluford logged over 688 hours in space, performing several tasks that have helped pave the way for space travel today.

And before that? As you’ll see in the tribute video below, Bluford began humbly and with a dream in mind and the perseverance to follow that dream to its full potential and beyond.

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