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ASK OCE — August 17, 2006 — Vol. 1, Issue 12


On August 30, 1983, Guion S. Bluford, a mission specialist on STS-8, became the first African-American in space.

Bluford and the rest of the Challenger crew completed 98 orbits of the Earth in 145 hours before landing at Edwards Air Force Base on September 5, 1983.

STS-8, the third flight of Challenger, was the first to feature both a night launch and a night landing. While in orbit, the crew deployed the Indian National Satellite (INSAT-1B) and conducted a number of biology and medically related experiments, including gathering data on live cell samples and performing measurements to shed light on the biophysiological effects of astronaut weightlessness.

Bluford went on to fly three more Shuttle missions: STS 61-A (the German D-1 Spacelab mission), which launched on October 30, 1985; STS-39, which launched on April 28, 1991; and STS-53, which launched on December 2, 1992. Over his career as an astronaut, he logged over 688 hours in space.

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