On This Day in Space! Sept. 12, 1992: Mae Jemison Becomes 1st African-American woman in space

On Sept. 12, 1992, NASA astronaut Mae Jemison became the first African-American woman to go to space.

In NASA’s early days, women and people of color were never selected to go to space. NASA didn’t send a woman to space until the seventh space shuttle mission in 1983. The first African-American man NASA launched into space flew on the following mission that same year.

Women in Space: A Gallery of Firsts

Mae Jemison flew on space shuttle mission STS-47 in 1992, and has continued promoting space exploration ever since. (Image credit: NASA)

Nine years later, NASA finally selected an African-American woman to fly on STS-47, the 50th space shuttle mission. Jemison was a trained engineer and licensed physician who served in the Peace Corps before applying to become an astronaut.

She worked as a mission specialist on STS-47 and logged over 190 hours in space. STS-47 was her only mission. In 1993, she retired from NASA and went on to found her own company, the Jemison Group, which is a technology consulting firm.

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Email Hanneke Weitering at hweitering@space.com or follow her @hannekescience. Follow us @Spacedotcom and on Facebook. 

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