GVSU event to feature first African American astronaut to travel to space

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — A two-day symposium hosted by Grand Valley State University and Grand Rapids Public Museum will celebrate space exploration and feature Guion “Guy” Bluford, a retired NASA astronaut who was the first African American to travel to space.

The conference, “Roger That! A Celebration of Space Exploration in Honor of Roger B. Chaffee,” will take place February 16-17 at Grand Valley’s DeVos Center on the Pew Grand Rapids Campus. Chaffee was an astronaut and Grand Rapids native who died during testing on Apollo I in 1967.

The conference will include breakout sessions featuring a variety of science, art and society topics related to space exploration. The conference is free and open to the public; register by February 11 at www.gvsu.edu/rogerthat

 Bluford’s keynote presentation will take place February 16 from 6-7 p.m. in the Loosemore Auditorium at the DeVos Center. In 1983, Bluford became the first African American astronaut to fly to space when he was part of a mission aboard NASA’s Space Shuttle Challenger. He flew into space four times during the shuttle program. He is also an aerospace engineer and retired U.S. Air Force officer and fighter pilot.

The conference is organized by Grand Valley, Grand Rapids Public Museum and the Roger B. Chaffee Scholarship Fund. It is supported, in part, by NASA’s Michigan Space Grant Consortium.

For more information about additional events, including a design challenge, visit www.gvsu.edu/rogerthat


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