Guion Stewart Bluford Jr. (born November 22, 1942) is an American aerospace engineer, retired United States Air Force (USAF) officer and fighter pilot, and former NASA astronaut.
On Tuesday, August 30, 1983, Guion Bluford became the first African American to go to space. Bluford was one of five people on the STS-8 mission. It was NASA's eighth mission to space and the Space Shuttle Challenger's third. The shuttle launched from Kennedy Space Center in Florida.
The Challenger spent six days in space, during which time Bluford and his four fellow crew members launched a communications satellite for the government of India, made contact with an errant communications satellite, conducted scientific experiments, and tested the shuttle’s robotic arm. Just before dawn on September 5, the shuttle landed at Edwards Air Force Base in California, bringing an end to the most flawless shuttle mission to that date.
Before joining NASA’s astronaut corps program, Bluford served as a pilot in the U.S. Air Force, where he flew 144 combat missions during the Vietnam War. Following his wartime service, he earned a master's degree in aerospace engineering in 1974, followed by a doctorate in aerospace engineering in 1978.
Bluford became one of 35 individuals selected to enter NASA’s Astronaut Training Program from a pool of 10,000 applicants.
According to airandspace.si.edu & history.com & theweathernetwork.com