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How Mae Jemison Became the First Black Woman to Go to Space


Mae Jemison

In 1992, Mae C. Jemison blasted off into outer space aboard the Endeavor. That moment made history, as Jemison became the first African-American female astronaut to visit space. Mae Jemison is a teacher, physician, volunteer, and president of two tech companies. Her professional accomplishments can only be described as out of this world – literally.
Shoot for The Moon

With the encouragement from her teachers and her family, Mae spent almost every day at the library studying science, paying special attention to astronomy.

When Mae eventually earned her bachelors from Stanford University, her childhood dream started to become a reality. She then went on to receive her doctorate in medicine from Cornell University. Instead of heading straight to NASA’s front door, Jemison served as a Peace Corps medical officer in Africa after graduation.

Once her time with the Peace Corps came to an end, she decided to apply for the opportunity of a lifetime—acceptance into the NASA astronaut program. At this point, NASA had yet to accept any Black women into their program. But in 1978, Mae changed everything. She was one of fifteen selected applicants for the prestigious program.

We Have Lift Off

On September 12, 1992 Mae C. Jemison became the first African-American woman to go to space. She and six other astronauts orbited the Earth 126 times, logging 190 hours, 30 minutes, and 23 seconds in space. During her mission, she was co-investigator on important bone cell research projects.

Jemison left NASA in 1993, and thanks to her knew-found fame, opportunities kept coming from left and right. She was a professor at Dartmouth, founded her own company, and took over leadership of the 100-Year Starship program. Mae remains a strong advocate for those who are underrepresented in the world of science. Her determination and hard work has paved the way for other young Black women to reach for the stars.





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