African American Astronauts Seek to Add New Chapter to Black History





February is Black History Month in the United States and Canada, a national observance that pays tribute to people and events that shaped the history of African-Americans and Canadians. It's also a time to educate people about the accomplishments of black people and their contributions to society. Last November, two African American astronauts soared into space while reaching new heights in the U.S. Space program.

Six astronauts rocketed toward orbit and the international space station. The mission had special meaning for Dr. Robert (Bobby) Satcher and Leland Melvin. They became the first African-American men to fly together on a shuttle mission.

Astronaut Bobby Satcher became the second African-American to space walk. He also made NASA history, becoming the first orthopedic surgeon in space, conducting a number of medical experiments. He says the future is bright for black astronauts.

"There is still a lot of firsts for us [black astronauts] to do and hopefully we will run out of those firsts pretty quickly because it is certainly my desire that one of the legacies that I would certainly like to leave behind is bringing in more African-American astronauts," said Bobby Satcher....

Since 1983 there have been 20 black astronauts in the U.S. space program. Both Melvin and Satcher say they hope there will be many more African-American space explorers inspired by what they've accomplished, not only in outer space but on Earth.



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