PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — One of the city’s own was being honored multiple ways Tuesday. Colonel Guion Bluford, was born and raised in West Philadelphia and went on to become the first African-American in space.
Bluford has always known that the sky is not the limit.
The Overbrook High and Penn State grad grew up with dream of becoming an Aeronautical Engineer, he then upped the ante by going to the United States Air Force, and then joining NASA in 1978.
Then in 1983, Bluford defied more than gravity when he became the first African-American to go into space, not one two or three, but four times.
“The view out of the window was spectacular,” he said. “We do a lot of good work on orbit so I feel honored to have done that on four occasions.”
Bluford retired from NASA in 1993, and even thought his space flying days are now over he is still inspiring other.
Fourth grader Zoe Bishop said, “I kind of felt a little nervous, but I felt really happy.”
She was one of the more than a dozen students from the Global Leadership Academy, Overbrook High, and Universal Bluford Charter that helped build a paper Mache space shuttle.
The students also helped build the “Philly’s Native Son in Space” exhibition located in City Hall as part of the Mann Center’s New Frontiers: Launch, Explore, Discover Festival.
The exhibit will remain on display until August 4th and Tuesday night Col. Bluford will be honored at the Mann Center as he’s serenaded by the Philadelphia orchestra.
“I feel very honored to be given the recognition that been presented, said Bluford.
It’s a recognition, that’ll put him in front of the next generation, so that they know, “if they can dream it they can achieve it.” And that the sky, is just the beginning.