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African American Studies

African Americans in the Military (A To Z of African by Catherine Reef

By Catherine Reef

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Bluford’s 1983 shuttle flight was the first to include a nighttime launch and landing. As the craft completed 98 Earth orbits, Bluford performed experiments related to diabetes research. He and another mission specialist, Dale Gardner, launched a weather satellite for the government of India. The Challenger landed in California on September 5. From October 30 to November 6, 1985, Bluford made his second shuttle flight as part of an eight-member crew on a mission that was a joint venture with West Germany.

Bush’s intention to name Bolden deputy administrator of NASA. The appointment became official on April 28, 2002. Bolden’s awards include three NASA Exceptional Service Medals (1988, 1989, and 1991), the NASA Outstanding Leadership Medal (1992), Defense Superior Service Medal, Defense Meritorious Service Medal, Distinguished Flying Cross, Air Medal, Strike/Flight Medal, and University of Southern California Alumni Award of Merit (1989). He has received honorary degrees from the University of Southern California, Winthrop College, and Johnson C.

At last he felt sufficiently prepared to apply to NASA, and in 1980 he was admitted to the shuttle program. , Jr. Center. The crew launched a communications satellite and conducted experiments in astrophysics before the Columbia landed at Edwards Air Force Base in California on January 18. Ten days later, the shuttle Challenger exploded following liftoff; NASA postponed further shuttle missions indefinitely, while an investigative team headed by Bolden determined that faulty “O-ring” seals in a solid-rocket booster had caused the Challenger disaster.

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