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Back in Colorado, America's first Black astronaut Ed Dwight says trip to space "righted a wrong"

90-year-old Coloradan who was once an astronaut finally reaches space in Blue Origin flight
90-year-old Coloradan who was once an astronaut finally reaches space in Blue Origin flight 02:29

It's a statement not many people get to say in their lifetime, but after over 60 years, Denver resident Edward Dwight finally got the chance.

"I just got back from outer space," said Ed Dwight. "Waited a long time for it, and to finally achieve it, it was fun, and worth the wait actually."

Fresh off his flight back from El Paso, Texas, 90-year-old Dwight walked with CBS Colorado across the terminal at Denver International Airport, reminiscing about the opportunity he got over the weekend to step into a capsule and travel into space.

"It's more than righting a wrong. It's destiny," said Dwight. "My heart I felt like it was going to happen one way or another."

Blue Origin webcast

The former Air Force Pilot was selected by President John F. Kennedy back in 1961 as a candidate for NASA's early astronaut program, making him the first Black candidate to be considered for space travel. However, he did not get picked for the 1963 class, and it took NASA another 20 years before a Black astronaut finally got to go to space.

"It was a wrong, but the country wasn't ready for it and that was the problem," said Dwight.

Family and friends who traveled with Dwight to West Texas say the problem was finally corrected this weekend after Dwight went aboard with five other passengers on Jeff Bezos' Blue Origin space capsule.

"They contacted me maybe about a year ago," said Dwight. "Didn't take me long to say yeah."


Dwight dedicated thousands of hours of flight training serving in the military and while being considered to go to space, which made this moment, six decades later, even more worth it for his loved ones.

"It was like finally it happened. When there's something that you train for, you were prepared for, you deserve to do, and it was taken away from you," said Tamara Rhone, Dwight's daughter. "To have it come full circle and to have a successful flight meant everything to me."

"It's absolutely fantastic to see him reach his dream after 60 years of effort," said Willie Daniels II, Dwight's longtime friend. "A great experience watching him go up in space."

The feeling up in space lasted only a few minutes. For Dwight, the moment felt timeless.

"I could see the color of the atmosphere, where it was, how thick the atmosphere looked, how the Earth was arched and shaped," said Dwight "I could've stayed up there for an awful long time."

Even with his vision declining, he said it was an incredible and rewarding experience.

"I saw what I needed to see," he said.

The astronaut, turned famous sculptor, has dedicated much of his life after the military to the artwork he's created in cities across the country. Many of them focus on Black history, much like the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. monument at Denver's City Park.

Now, after officially becoming the oldest person to reach space, he hopes to send a different kind of message to the world: Anything is possible.

"There's no stopping you, you don't need to stop," said Dwight. "I still got a lot of work to do. And I'm just energized by it all."

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