African American Astronauts

Bernard Harris

Bernard Harris was the first Black astronaut to walk in space. He was selected by NASA (National Aeronautics and Space Administration) in 1990 and became an astronaut in 1991.

Harris’ first space flight was on the space shuttle Columbia where he flew a ten day mission and logged over 239 hours and 4,164,183 miles in space. During the mission the crew conducted research in physical and life sciences.

In 1995 he flew his second mission in space. That mission was the first flight of the joint Russian-American Space Program and included a rendezvous with the Russian Space Station, Mir. During that mission Harris became the first African American to walk in space.

Bernard Harris was born in Temple, Texas on June 26, 1956. He received a bachelor of science degree in biology from the University of Houston in 1978, and a doctorate in medicine from Texas Tech University School of Medicine in 1982. He trained as a flight surgeon at the Aerospace School of Medicine at Brooks Air Force Base in San Antonio, Texas. He also attended the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston and received a master’s degree in biomedical science in 1996.

Harris has received several awards from NASA including the NASA Award of Merit and the NASA Outstanding Leadership Medal.