Shuttle Launch for 1st African American to Walk in Space


The STS-63 NASA mission, the second of the US/Russian Shuttle-Mir program, was originally set to launch on this date in 1995. At the last minute, the mission was delayed 24 hours due to a failure in one of the Inertial Measurement Units. The launch took place successfully the next day. The Space Shuttle’s mission was to fly around and rendez-vous with the Russian space station Mir, making the Discovery the first Space Shuttle to dock with the station. The mission featured additional firsts, including the first walk in space by an African American. Bernard A. Harris Jr. was a medical doctor who, after completing a National Research Council Fellowship at NASA’s Ames Research Center, started training as a flight surgeon and eventually joined NASA. On February 9th, 1995, during what was his second space mission, he began a 4 hour and 39 minute Extra Vehicular Activity (EVA) or spacewalk. Michael Foale also did the EVA, becoming the first British-born person to do so. The mission also featured the first female pilot, Eileen Collin

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