As we explore and learn about the impact of space professionals past and present, we highlight the tremendous contributions made by Black scientists and engineers who have actively participated in the space exploration sector. Browse through each profile and learn about their area of expertise and impact.
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Adaeze Ibik is a student Astrophysicist working on very bright explosions in the universe known as supernovae and fast radio bursts. She is currently a Ph.D. student at the University of Toronto. We interviewed her to learn more about her journey and work.
Dorothy Vaughan, also a mathematician, was an expert FORTRAN programmer and worked on the Scout Launch Vehicle Program. She is one of three women featured in Hidden Figures, a box-office hit movie.
Guion Bluford, from Pennsylvania, USA, is an aerospace engineer, former Air Force officer, fighter pilot, and NASA astronaut. He made history on August 30, 1983, when he flew into space aboard the shuttle orbiter Challenger on the STS-8 mission, becoming the first African American in space!
Dr. Jeanette J. Epps
Jeanette Epps, from Syracuse New York, has a Masters and PhD degree in aerospace engineering. She is actively involved in human analog missions that support humans in space. She is the second woman and first African-American woman to have participated in CAVES (an astronaut training course hosted by the European Space Agency where astronauts train in a space analogue cave setting).
Katherine Johnson, a mathematician, is best known for calculating the trajectory of Alan Shepard’s 1961 flight into space. She is one of three women featured in Hidden Figures, a box-office hit movie.
Dr. Louise Edwards
Dr. Edwards was the first Black Canadian to earn a PhD in Astronomy in early 2000s from Laval University, Quebec. Fun fact: she has been featured on a Canada Post stamp in 2002!
As an astrophysicist, she researches the formation and evolution of galaxies that lack gas and dust!
Mae Carol Jemison
She is a former NASA Astronaut, engineer, and physician. She went up to space in 1992 for eight days and thereby became the first black woman in space. She has had a long illustrious career in the space sector. Our high school volunteer researched more about her and created a short video of her highlights.
Originally from Nigeria, she is now a PhD candidate at the University of Toronto, Canada in the department of Astronomy and Astrophysics. Her current work tries to understand the nature of the early universe using simulated data.
We asked her a few more questions about her journey in becoming an astronomer.
She works at the Canadian Space Agency as a Project Management Engineer. She has overseen several initatives within the agency including the Junior Astronaut Program.
Dr. Moogega Cooper
She is a Mechanical Engineer based in the United States. She oversees Planetary Protection teams for both the NASA Perseverance and InSight missions. She finds solutions to ensure planetary bodies (Earth and beyond) are protected from life forms and have minimal risks of contamination.
She is a journalist, senior science reporter at the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC), based in Toronto Canada. Additionally she is an author and editor at the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada. Check out our interview with Nicole!
She is a Thermal Blanket Technician based in the United States. She works at NASA Goddard Space Flight Centre and is in charge of Planetary Protection. She creates one-of-a-kind thermal blankets to keep satellites like the Hubble Telescope safe in orbit.
She is a Space Governance expert. She has worked in 5 different countries (UK, France, Nigeria, Canada, USA) in 6 fields (law firm, consulting firm, govt., academia, NGO, think tank) and 4 different functions (legal, research, teaching, executive) over her 15-year career.