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NASA’s The Color of Space Documentary Celebrates Black Space Explorers

Press Release From: NASA HQ
Posted: Thursday, June 16, 2022

Members of the public are invited to watch the free online premiere of The Color of Space, an inspirational documentary by NASA that tells the stories of Black Americans determined to reach the stars.  

The documentary will premiere on Juneteenth, Sunday, June 19, the federal holiday commemorating the end of slavery in the United States. The 50-minute documentary will be available to watch starting at noon EDT on NASA TV, the NASA app, NASA social media channels, and the agency’s website

Anchoring the documentary is a powerful and thought-provoking conversation between seven current and former Black astronauts, each of whom were selected to become part of NASA’s astronaut corps and train for missions to space. Current NASA astronauts Stephanie Wilson, Victor Glover, Jeanette Epps, as well as retired astronauts Leland Melvin, Bernard Harris, Robert Curbeam, and Bobby Satcher, spoke about their journeys and their motivations in a panel hosted by NASA Johnson Space Center Director Vanessa Wyche, the first Black woman to lead a NASA center.  

Originally held at Space Center Houston March 25, the panel discussion marks the first time the seven astronauts have been assembled for an official NASA event. 

The agency is committed to a culture of diversity and inclusion in its astronaut corps, which increasingly reflects the American public. As America embarks on a new era of lunar exploration missions through the Artemis program, NASA is committed to sending the first woman and first person of color to the lunar surface. 

The documentary also features recordings of conversations between the astronauts and students in middle school, as well as students enrolled in Historically Black Colleges and Universities. The astronauts spoke with the students about the unique path achieved by Black explorers within NASA, offered personal stories of hope and resilience, and gave advice to the future generation of scientists, engineers, and explorers. 

“At NASA, we explore space and expand knowledge for the benefit of humanity. To do this, we must attract the brightest minds that reflect the American public,” said Wyche. “In this documentary, our former and current Black astronauts share their journeys to space and offer personal stories of courage and resilience. I hope this film will inspire all NASA’s future engineers, scientists, and explorers to reach for the stars, as we work to land the first woman and first person of color on the Moon under Artemis.” 

The documentary also includes rare archival footage and interviews with Guion ‘Guy’ Bluford, the first Black man in space; Charlie Bolden, retired astronaut and first Black NASA administrator; former astronauts Alvin Drew and Joan Higginbotham; and Ed Dwight, America’s first African-American astronaut candidate. 

Black Americans made contributions to America’s space program since before the agency’s founding. Although unsung heroes like the Hidden Figures made invaluable contributions to the space program and NASA’s overall mission, it took many years for the first Black American to break the color barrier and hold the title of astronaut. Painting a vivid picture of tenacity and depth within the Black community, the title of the documentary directly pays tribute to the remarkable men and women who launched themselves forward and took their claim on the journey to space.   

free, in-person screening of the documentary will take place on Saturday, June 18, at Howard University in Washington. The event will begin with a family-friendly reception and hands-on activities at 5:30 p.m., followed by the documentary screening at 7 p.m. Registration is required to attend, and guests will be confirmed on a first-come, first-served basis. For details on how to register, click here.

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