Encyclopedia Astronautica
Bluford



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Bluford
Credit: www.spacefacts.de - www.spacefacts.de
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STS-8
Mission Specialist (MS) Bluford exercises on middeck treadmill
Credit: NASA
Bluford, Dr Guion Steward Jr 'Guy' (1942-) African-American engineer mission specialist astronaut. Flew on STS-8, STS-61-A, STS-39, STS-53. First African-American in space. Flew 144 combat missions in Vietnam.


Official NASA Biography

NAME: Guion S. Bluford, Jr. (Colonel, USAF)

NASA Astronaut

BIRTHPLACE AND DATE: Born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, on November 22, 1942.

PHYSICAL DESCRIPTION: Black hair; brown eyes; 6 feet; 180 pounds.

EDUCATION: Graduated from Overbrook Senior High School in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, in 1960; received a bachelor of science degree in aerospace engineering from the Pennsylvania State University in 1964; a master of science degree with distinction in aerospace engineering from the Air Force Institute of Technology in 1974; a doctor of philosophy in aerospace engineering with a minor in laser physics from the Air Force Institute of Technology in 1978, and a master in business administration from the University of Houston, Clear Lake, in 1987.

MARITAL STATUS: Married to the former Linda Tull of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

CHILDREN: Guion Stewart III, June 12, 1964; James Trevor, October 25, 1965.

RECREATIONAL INTERESTS: His hobbies include reading, swimming, jogging, racquetball, handball, and scuba.

ORGANIZATIONS: Associate Fellow, American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, and member of the Air Force Association, Tau Beta Pi, Sigma Iota Epsilon, National Technical Association, and Tuskegee Airmen.

SPECIAL HONORS: Presented the Leadership Award of Phi Delta Kappa (1962); the National Defense Service Medal (1965); Vietnam Campaign Medal (1967); Vietnam Cross of Gallantry with Palm (1967); Vietnam Service Medal (1967); 10 Air Force Air Medals (1967); 3 Air Force Outstanding Unit Awards (1967, 1970, 1972); the Germany Air Force Aviation Badge from the Federal Republic of West Germany (1969); T-38 Instructor Pilot of the Month (1970); Air Training Command Outstanding Flight Safety Award (1970); an Air Force Commendation Medal (1972); the Air Force Institute of Technology's Mervin E. Gross Award (1974); Who's Who Among Black Americans 1975-1977; an Air Force Meritorious Service Award (1978); National Society of Black Engineers Distinguished National Scientist Award (1979); two NASA Group Achievement Awards (1980 and 1981); the Pennsylvania State University Alumni Association's Distinguished Alumni Award (1983), and Alumni Fellows Award (1986), USAF Command Pilot Astronaut Wings (1983), NASA Space Flight Medal (1983, 1985, & 1991), Ebony Black Achievement Award (1983), NAACP Image Award (1983), Who's Who in America (1983), Pennsylvania's Distinguished Service Medal (1984), Defense Superior Service Medal, Defense Meritorious Service Medal, the New York City Urban League's Whitney Young Memorial Award, the 1991 Black Engineer of the Year Award, and honorary doctorate degrees from Florida A & M University, Texas Southern University, Virginia State University, Morgan State University, Stevens Institute of Technology, Tuskegee Institute, Bowie State College, Thomas Jefferson University, Chicago State University, Georgian Court College, and Drexel University.

EXPERIENCE: Bluford graduated from Penn State University in 1964 as a distinguished Air Force ROTC graduate.

He attended pilot training at Williams Air Force Base, Arizona, and received his pilot wings in January 1966. He then went to F-4C combat crew training in Arizona and Florida and was assigned to the 557th Tactical Fighter Squadron, Cam Ranh Bay, Vietnam. He flew 144 combat missions, 65 of which were over North Vietnam.

In July 1967, he was assigned to the 3,630th Flying Training Wing, Sheppard Air Force Base, Texas, as a T-38A instructor pilot. He served as a standardization/evaluation officer and as an assistant flight commander. In early 1971, he attended Squadron Officers School and returned as an executive support officer to the Deputy Commander of Operations and as School Secretary for the Wing.

In August 1972, he entered the Air Force Institute of Technology residency school at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio. Upon graduating in 1974, he was assigned to the Air Force Flight Dynamics Laboratory at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio, as a staff development engineer. He served as deputy for advanced concepts for the Aeromechanics Division and as branch chief of the Aerodynamics and Airframe Branch in the Laboratory. Bluford has written and presented several scientific papers in the area of computational fluid dynamics.

He has logged over 5,100 hours jet flight time in the T-33, T-37, T-38, F-4C, F-15, U-2/TR-1, and F-5A/B, including 1,300 hours as a T-38 instructor pilot. He also has an FAA commercial pilot license.

NASA EXPERIENCE: Bluford became a NASA astronaut in August 1979. His technical assignments have included working with the Remote Manipulator System (RMS), Spacelab-3 experiments, Space Shuttle systems, verifying flight software in the Shuttle Avionics Integration Laboratory (SAIL) and the Flight Systems Laboratory (FSL), and serving as the Astronaut Office point of contact for generic Spacelab and Shuttle External Tank issues. A veteran of three space flights, Bluford was a mission specialist on STS-8 in 1983, STS 61-A in 1985, and STS-39 in 1991.

Bluford's first mission was STS-8, which launched from Kennedy Space Center, Florida, on August 30, 1983. This was the third flight for the Orbiter

Challenger and the first mission with a night launch and night landing. During the mission, the STS-8 crew deployed the Indian National Satellite (INSAT-1B); operated the Canadian-built RMS with the Payload Flight Test Article (PFTA); operated the Continuous Flow Electrophoresis System (CFES) with live cell samples; conducted medical measurements to understand biophysiological effects on space flight; and activated various earth resources and space science experiments along with four "Getaway Special" canisters. STS-8 completed 98 orbits of the Earth in 145 hours before landing at Edwards Air Force Base, California, on September 5, 1983.

On STS 61-A, the German D-1 Spacelab mission, the crew on board the Orbiter Challenger launched from Kennedy Space Center, Florida, on October 30, 1985. This mission was the first to carry eight crew members, the largest crew to fly in space ans included three European payload specialists. This was the first dedicated Spacelab mission under the direction of the German Aerospace Research Establishment (DFVLR) and the first U.S. mission in which payload control was transferred to a foreign country (German Space Operations Center, Oberpfaffenhofen, Germany). During the mission, the Global Low Orbiting Message Relay Satellite (GLOMR) was deployed from a "Getaway Special" (GAS) container, and 76 experiments were performed in Spacelab in such fields as fluid physics, materials processing, life sciences, and navigation. The experimental test facilities used included melting, solidification, and crystal growing furnaces, facilities for the observation of fluid physics phenomena, chambers to provide specific environmental conditions for biological samples, and a vestibular sled. After completing 111 orbits of the Earth in 169 hours, Challenger landed at Edwards Air Force Base, California, on November 6, 1985.

More recently, Bluford served on the crew of STS-39, which launched from the Kennedy Space Center, Florida on April 28, 1991, aboard the Orbiter, Discovery. The crew gathered aurora, Earth-limb, celestial, and Shuttle environment data with the AFP-675 payload. This payload consisted of the Cryogenic infrared Radiance Instrumentation for Shuttle (CIRRIS-1A) experiment, Far Ultraviolet Camera experiment (FAR UV), the Uniformly Redundant Array (URA), the Quadruple Ion Neutral Mass Spectrometer (QINMS), and the Horizon Ultraviolet Program (HUP) experiment. The crew also deployed and retrieved the Spas-II with the RMS. The Spas-II carried the Infrared Background Signature Survey (IBSS) experiment, which collected Shuttle exhaust plume, Earthlimb, Earthscan, aurora, chemical/gas release and celestial data. The crew also operated the Space Test Payload-1 (STP-1) and deployed a classified payload from the Multi-Purpose Experiment Canister (MPEC). After completing 134 orbits of the Earth and 199 hours in space, Discovery landed at the Kennedy Space Center, Florida on May 6, 1991.

With the completion of his third flight, Bluford logged over 513 hours in space.

CURRENT ASSIGNMENT: Colonel Bluford is assigned as a mission specialist on the crew of STS-53, a Department of Defense Mission scheduled for launch in the fall of 1992.

APRIL 1992

Birth Place: African, Pennsylvania.
Status: Inactive.


Born: 1942.11.22.
Spaceflights: 4 .
Total time in space: 28.69 days.

More... - Chronology...


Associated Countries
See also
  • NASA Group 8 - 1978 Requirement: pilot, engineer, and scientist astronauts for space shuttle flights. Recruit women and minorities to introduce diversity into the astronaut corps. Nickname: TFNG - Thirty-Five New Guys, also an obscene military phrase. More...

Associated Flights
  • STS-8 Crew: Bluford, Brandenstein, Gardner, Thornton Bill, Truly. First African-American in space. First shuttle night launch and night landing. First night launch and night landing. Deployed Insat 1B. More...
  • STS-61-A Crew: Bluford, Buchli, Dunbar, Furrer, Hartsfield, Messerschmid, Nagel, Ockels. Record crew size aboard a single spacecraft. First Dutch astronaut. Manned eight crew. Launched GLOMR; carried Spacelab D1. Six of the eight crew members were divided into a blue and red team working 12-hour shifts. Experienced O-ring erosion. More...
  • STS-39 Crew: Bluford, Coats, Hammond, Harbaugh, Hieb, McMonagle, Veach. Manned seven crew. Deployed USA-70, CRO A, CRO B, CRO C; deployed and retrieved Infrared Background Signature Survey . More...
  • STS-53 Crew: Bluford, Cabana, Clifford, Voss, Walker Dave. Manned five crew. Deployed classified military satellite USA-89. The ODERACS payload was unable to be deployed because of payload equipment malfunction. More...

Associated Manufacturers and Agencies
  • USAF American agency overseeing development of rockets and spacecraft. United States Air Force, USA. More...

Associated Programs
  • STS The Space Transportation System (Space Shuttle) was conceived originally as a completely reusable system that would provide cheap, routine access to space and replace all American and civilian military launch vehicles. Crippled by technological overreach, political compromise, and budget limitations, it instead ended up costing more than the expendable rockets it was to have replaced. STS sucked the money out of all other NASA projects for half a century. The military abandoned its use after the Challenger shuttle explosion in the 1980's. More...

Bibliography
  • NASA Astronaut Biographies, Johnson Space Center, NASA, 1995-present. Web Address when accessed: here.
  • Mullane, Mike, Riding Rockets, Scribner, New York, 2006.

Bluford Chronology


1978 January 16 - .
  • NASA Astronaut Training Group 8 selected. - . Nation: USA. Related Persons: Bluford; Brandenstein; Buchli; Coats; Covey; Creighton; Fabian; Fisher; Gardner; Gibson; Gregory; Griggs; Hart; Hauck; Hawley; Hoffman; Lucid; McBride; McNair; Mullane; Nagel; Nelson; Onizuka; Resnik; Ride; Scobee; Seddon; Shaw; Shriver; Stewart; Sullivan. The group was selected to provide pilot, engineer, and scientist astronauts for space shuttle flights. Recruit women and minorities to introduce diversity into the astronaut corps. Qualifications: Pilots: Bachelor's degree in engineering, biological science, physical science or mathematics. Advanced degree desirable. At least 1,000 flight-hours of pilot-in-command time. Flight test experience desirable. Excellent health. Vision minimum 20/50 uncorrected, correctable to 20/20 vision; maximum sitting blood pressure 140/90. Height between 163 and 193 cm.

    Mission Specialists: Bachelor's degree in engineering, biological science, physical science or mathematics and minimum three years of related experience or an advanced degree. Vision minimum 20/150 uncorrected, correctable to 20/20. Maximum sitting blood pressure of 140/90. Height between 150 and 193 cm.. 8,079 applicants, of which half met the basic qualifications. 208 invited for physical tests and interviews. Of the 35 selected, six were women, three were male African-Americans, and one was a male Asian-American.


1983 August 30 - . 06:32 GMT - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC39A. LV Family: Shuttle. Launch Vehicle: Shuttle. LV Configuration: Space Shuttle STS-8.
  • STS-8 - . Call Sign: Challenger. Crew: Bluford; Brandenstein; Gardner; Thornton, Bill; Truly. Payload: Challenger F03 / PFTA. Mass: 13,642 kg (30,075 lb). Nation: USA. Related Persons: Bluford; Brandenstein; Gardner; Thornton, Bill; Truly. Agency: NASA Houston. Program: STS. Class: Manned. Type: Manned spaceplane. Flight: STS-8. Spacecraft: Challenger. Duration: 6.05 days. Decay Date: 1983-09-05 . USAF Sat Cat: 14312 . COSPAR: 1983-089A. Apogee: 313 km (194 mi). Perigee: 306 km (190 mi). Inclination: 28.5000 deg. Period: 90.70 min. First night launch and night landing. Deployed Insat 1B. Payloads: Deployment of INSAT (lndia communica-tion satellite) with Payload Assist Module (PAM)-D, Payload Flight Test Article (PFTA)/ Payload Deployment Retrieval System (PDRS), Continuous Flow Electrophoresis (CFES), biomedical experiments. 250,000 express mail envelopes with special cachet for U.S. Postal Service were carried for a first-day cover.

1983 September 5 - .
1985 October 30 - . 17:00 GMT - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC39A. LV Family: Shuttle. Launch Vehicle: Shuttle. LV Configuration: Space Shuttle STS-29/61-A.
  • STS-61-A - . Call Sign: Challenger. Crew: Bluford; Buchli; Dunbar; Furrer; Hartsfield; Messerschmid; Nagel; Ockels. Payload: Challenger F09 / GLOMR 1. Mass: 14,451 kg (31,859 lb). Nation: USA. Related Persons: Bluford; Buchli; Dunbar; Furrer; Hartsfield; Messerschmid; Nagel; Ockels. Agency: NASA Houston. Program: STS. Class: Manned. Type: Manned spaceplane. Flight: STS-61-A. Spacecraft: Challenger. Duration: 7.03 days. Decay Date: 1985-11-06 . USAF Sat Cat: 16230 . COSPAR: 1985-104A. Apogee: 331 km (205 mi). Perigee: 319 km (198 mi). Inclination: 57.0000 deg. Period: 91.00 min. Manned eight crew. Launched GLOMR; carried Spacelab D1. Payloads: Spacelab D-1 with habitable module and 76 experiments. Six of the eight crew members were divided into a blue and red team working 12-hour shifts for 24-hour-a-day operation. The remaining two crew members were 'switch hitters.'.

1985 November 6 - .
1991 April 28 - . 11:33 GMT - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC39A. LV Family: Shuttle. Launch Vehicle: Shuttle. LV Configuration: Space Shuttle STS-39.
  • STS-39 - . Call Sign: Discovery. Crew: Bluford; Coats; Hammond; Harbaugh; Hieb; McMonagle; Veach. Payload: Discovery F12. Mass: 9,712 kg (21,411 lb). Nation: USA. Related Persons: Bluford; Coats; Hammond; Harbaugh; Hieb; McMonagle; Veach. Agency: NASA Houston. Program: STS. Class: Manned. Type: Manned spaceplane. Flight: STS-39. Spacecraft: Discovery. Duration: 8.31 days. Decay Date: 1991-05-06 . USAF Sat Cat: 21242 . COSPAR: 1991-031A. Apogee: 263 km (163 mi). Perigee: 248 km (154 mi). Inclination: 57.0000 deg. Period: 89.60 min. Manned seven crew. Deployed USA 70, CRO A, CRO B, CRO C; deployed and retrieved IBSS. Payloads: Infrared Background Signature Survey (lBSS), Air Force Program (AFP)-675, Space Test Payload (STP)-I, Multi-Purpose Experiment Canister (MPEC), Cloud Logic to Optimize Use of Defense Systems (CLOUDS)-1A, Radiation Monitoring Equipment (RME)-lll.

1991 May 6 - .
1992 December 2 - . 13:24 GMT - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC39A. LV Family: Shuttle. Launch Vehicle: Shuttle. LV Configuration: Space Shuttle STS-53.
  • STS-53 - . Call Sign: Discovery. Crew: Bluford; Cabana; Clifford; Voss; Walker, Dave. Payload: Discovery F15 / USA-89. Mass: 11,868 kg (26,164 lb). Nation: USA. Related Persons: Bluford; Cabana; Clifford; Voss; Walker, Dave. Agency: NASA Houston. Program: STS. Class: Manned. Type: Manned spaceplane. Flight: STS-53. Spacecraft: Discovery. Duration: 7.31 days. Decay Date: 1992-12-09 . USAF Sat Cat: 22259 . COSPAR: 1992-086A. Apogee: 376 km (233 mi). Perigee: 365 km (226 mi). Inclination: 57.0000 deg. Period: 92.00 min. Manned five crew. Deployed classified military satellite USA 89. The ODERACS payload was unable to be deployed because of payload equipment malfunction. Payloads: Department of Defense (DOD)1; Glow Experiment/Cryogenic Heat Pipe Experiment Payload (GCP); Orbital Debris Radar Calibration System (ODERACS); Battlefield Laser Acquisition Sensor Test (BLAST); Cloud Logic To Optimize Use of Defense Systems (CLOUDS) 1A; Cosmic Radiation Effects and Activation Monitor (CREAM); Fluid Acquisition and Resupply Equipment (FARE); Hand-held, Earth-oriented, Real-time, Cooperative, User-friendly, Location-targeting and Environmental System (HER-CULES); Microencapsulation in Space (MIS)-1; Radiation Monitoring Equipment (RME) III; Spare Tissue Loss (STL); Visual Function Tester (VFT)2.

1992 December 9 - .
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