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Meet The First Black Woman to Travel to Space

Dr. Mae Jemison

Dr. Mae Jemison was born on October 17, 1956, in Alabama. As an engineer, physician, and a former NASA astronaut who served as a mission specialist aboard the Space Shuttle Endeavour, she is the first black woman to travel into space.As a child, she was an outstanding student who had the support of her parents. In 1977, Jemison graduated from Stanford University and after completing the requirements for a doctor of science in chemical engineering, she entered medical school at Cornell University with the intent of becoming a researcher. Her interest in space travel began in 1983 when she traveled to Africa as a medical area Peace Corps specialist. She had received a grant from the International Traveling Institute for Health Studies.

In 1986, after the devastating infamous Challenger explosion, she took her shot and applied for a position as an astronaut. Just one year later, she was accepted into the astronaut program and in 1992 she flew on the Endeavor, which was a joint project of Japan and the United States. By being on this mission, she made history because she had become the first African-American woman to be admitted to NASA's astronaut training program and the first African-American woman to travel to space.

As part of his mission work, she served as a scientific specialist and carried out a series of experiments on dizziness during flights, bone loss in space, ovulation, fertilization of frogs, and the subsequent development of tadpoles when there is no gravity.

In 1993, Jemison left NASA and founded her own private firm called The Jemison Group which specializes in projects that integrate science into the design, development, and implementation of new technologies.

From 1995-2002, she also taught as a professor of environmental studies at Dartmouth College in Hanover, New Hampshire.