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Guion Bluford

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Information about Guion Bluford

Profile image of Guion Bluford

Profession

Category:
ScienceMakers
MilitaryMakers
Occupation(s):
Astronaut
Military Officer

Favorites

Favorite Color:
Beige
Favorite Food:
Steak, Lobster
Favorite Time of Year:
Summer
Favorite Vacation Spot:
None
Favorite Quote:
Do what you love and love what you do.

Birthplace

Born:
11/22/1942
Birth Location:
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Profession

Category:
ScienceMakers
MilitaryMakers
Occupation(s):
Astronaut
Military Officer

Favorites

Favorite Color:
Beige
Favorite Food:
Steak, Lobster
Favorite Time of Year:
Summer
Favorite Vacation Spot:
None
Favorite Quote:
Do what you love and love what you do.

Birthplace

Born:
11/22/1942
Birth Location:
Philadelphia
See how Guion Bluford is related to other HistoryMakers

Biography

NASA astronaut, aerospace engineer, military officer, and senior engineering executive, Guion S. Bluford Jr. was born on November 22, 1942 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He was the eldest of three sons of Guion Bluford, Sr., a mechanical engineer, and Lolita Bluford, a special education teacher. Bluford graduated from Overbrook Senior High School in 1960 and went on to graduate from Pennsylvania State University in 1964 with his B.S. degree in aerospace engineering. He was also a distinguished graduate of the U.S. Air Force ROTC program and received his commission as an Air Force second lieutenant. Bluford graduated from the Air Force Institute of Technology with his M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in aerospace engineering in 1974 and 1978, respectively. In 1987, Bluford received his M.B.A. degree in management from the University of Houston at Clear Lake.

After receiving his Air Force pilot wings, Bluford was assigned to the 557th Tactical Fighter Squadron at Cam Ranh Bay, Vietnam. As an F4C fighter pilot, he flew 144 combat missions in Southeast Asia. From 1967 to 1972, he was a T-38 instructor pilot at Sheppard Air Force Base in Texas where he trained future U.S. Air Force and West German fighter pilots. Upon graduating from the Air Force Institute of Technology in 1974, Bluford was assigned to the U.S. Air Force Flight Dynamics Laboratory as Deputy for Advanced Concepts in the Aeromechanics Division and then as Branch Chief of the Aerodynamics and Airframe Branch. In 1978, Bluford was selected for the astronaut program and was officially designated a NASA astronaut one year later. In 1983, he became the first African American to fly in space and the first to receive the U.S. Air Force Command Pilot Astronaut Wings. Bluford was also the first African American to return to space a second, third, and fourth time when he flew on STS-61A in 1985, STS-39 in 1991, and STS-53 in 1992. He has logged more than 688 hours in space.

In 1993, he retired from NASA and the United States Air Force to become the Vice President/General Manager of the Engineering Services Division of NYMA Inc. He led the research support effort in aeropropulsion, satellite systems, microgravity and advanced materials. In 1997, he became the Vice President of the Aerospace Sector of the Federal Data Corporation and led the company’s NASA business. Finally, in 2000, Bluford became the Vice President of Microgravity R&D and Operation for Northrop Grumman Corporation and led the industry team in the development of two experiment facilities currently on the International Space Station. Today, Bluford is the President of the Aerospace Technology Group in Cleveland, Ohio.

Bluford has been awarded the Department of Defense Superior Service and Meritorious Service Medals; the Air Force Legion of Merit and Meritorious Service Medal; the NASA Distinguished Service and Exceptional Service Medals; the Pennsylvania Distinguished Service Medal; the 1991 Black Engineer of the Year Award and fourteen honorary doctorate degrees. He was inducted into the International Space Hall of Fame in 1997 and the U.S. Astronaut Hall of Fame in 2010

Guion Stewart Bluford, Jr. was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on May 9, 2013.

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  • Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Guion Bluford's interview
  • Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Guion Bluford lists his favorites
  • Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Guion Bluford describes his mother's family background
  • Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Guion Bluford talks about his mother's education and her career as a teacher
  • Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Guion Bluford talks about growing up in a non-segregated environment in Philadelphia, and talks about his mother's career, personality and interests
  • Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Guion Bluford describes his father's family background
  • Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Guion Bluford describes his father's education, and how his parents met at Alcorn A&M College in the 1930s
  • Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Guion Bluford describes his father's employment as an engineer, and his family's early life in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
  • Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Guion Bluford describes his parents' personalities and who he takes after
  • Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Guion Bluford talks about his brothers, and about growing up in Philadelphia
  • Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Guion Bluford describes the demographics of West Philadelphia during his childhood years and describes his interests as a child
  • Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Guion Bluford talks about his childhood interest in airplanes as well as joining the Boy Scouts
  • Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Guion Bluford describes his experience at the YMCA and what influenced his childhood interest in becoming an aerospace engineer
  • Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Guion Bluford describes his experience in elementary school and junior high school in Philadelphia
  • Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Guion Bluford describes his experience in high school in Philadelphia
  • Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Guion Bluford talks about his role models in engineering and his interest in pursuing a career in aeronautical engineering
  • Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Guion Bluford talks about his teachers in school, his decision to attend Pennsylvania State University and his encounter with a college counselor
  • Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Guion Bluford talks about his father's struggle with epilepsy, his mother career as a school teacher, and his grandfather's influence on his life
  • Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Guion Bluford talks about his interest in solving puzzles and his decision to attend Pennsylvania State University for his undergraduate studies
  • Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Guion Bluford talks about his graduating class at Overbrook High School in Philadelphia
  • Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Guion Bluford describes his experience as an undergraduate student at Pennsylvania State University
  • Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Guion Bluford describes his family's involvement in the Christian Science church
  • Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Guion Bluford describes his fear of heights and hospitals
  • Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Guion Bluford describes his social experience at Pennsylvania State University in the 1960s
  • Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Guion Bluford talks about his decision to enroll in the Air Force Advanced ROTC Course and join the U.S. Air Force as an engineer
  • Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Guion Bluford talks about how he met his wife, Linda Tull
  • Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Guion Bluford talks about his decision to become a pilot in the U.S. Air Force
  • Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Guion Bluford describes his senior year at Penn State University
  • Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Guion Bluford talks about graduating from Penn State University
  • Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Guion Bluford talks about Professor Leslie Greenhill and Professor Barnes McCormick, who were his mentors at Penn State University
  • Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Guion Bluford talks about his early married life and the few months following his graduation from Penn State University
  • Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Guion Bluford talks about his initial experience on Williams Air Force Base
  • Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Guion Bluford describes his pilot training experience on Williams Air Force Base in 1965
  • Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Guion Bluford talks about Air Force pilot Chappie James and his first assignment out of pilot training in 1966
  • Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Guion Bluford talks about the low percentage of black pilots in the U.S. Air Force
  • Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Guion Bluford describes his service as a U.S. Air Force fighter pilot in Vietnam, from 1966 to 1967 - part one
  • Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Guion Bluford describes his service as a U.S. Air Force fighter pilot in Vietnam, from 1966 to 1967 - part two
  • Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Guion Bluford talks about his fighter plane being shot at while he was in Vietnam
  • Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Guion Bluford shares his perspective on the Vietnam War
  • Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Guion Bluford talks about his decision to become an instructor pilot and his experience at Sheppard Air Force Base
  • Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Guion Bluford talks about his decision to pursue graduate school
  • Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Guion Bluford talks about Robert Lawrence
  • Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Guion Bluford describes his experience in the master's degree program at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base
  • Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Guion Bluford describes his decision to pursue a Ph.D. degree in aerospace engineering
  • Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Guion Bluford describes his experience as a doctoral student in aerospace engineering
  • Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Guion Bluford discusses his doctoral dissertation on determining a numerical solution to describe the flow around a delta wing at hypersonic speeds
  • Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Guion Bluford describes his decision to apply for the NASA astronaut program in 1977
  • Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Guion Bluford describes his selection to the NASA astronaut program in 1978