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‘Guion’ highlights Penn Stater who was first African-American in space

by on February 08, 2018 10:32 AM

As the first African-American to travel into space, Penn State alumnus Guion “Guy” Bluford is a pioneer and holds a significant place in the history of space exploration, but his story is relatively unknown to the public.

The filmmakers behind a new short film hope to change that and put Bluford in the spotlight.

In an interview with the science and technology blog io9, director Sagi Kahane-Rapport described "Guion" as a “highly character-driven piece,” aiming to capture Bluford’s story in a span of 15 minutes. Viewers have no need to worry about authenticity — Bluford shared a 91-page unpublished memoir with the production team, and he is working with the Ryerson University-based filmmakers to tell his story.

Kahane-Rapport said the film will be a tale of Bluford's “grit,” as "a humble man who achieved greatness" and offers a glance into the struggle of balancing private life with the fame of space exploration. It will be set in both the 1960s and 1980s. "Guion," which is a crowd-funded project, is still in the nascent stages of production, but a trailer is available online at

Bluford was born Nov. 22, 1942, in West Philadelphia, and enrolled at Penn State upon his graduation from Overbrook High School. A highly accomplished student, he left Happy Valley with an aerospace engineering degree in 1964. The pursuit of a master’s degree led him to the Air Force Institute of Technology, where he eventually earned a doctorate degree, as well.

He was a part of four space shuttle flights between 1983 and 1992.

In addition to his career as an engineer and astronaut, Bluford is a decorated veteran, having piloted 144 combat missions during the Vietnam War and reaching the rank of colonel. 

He has been recognized as a distinguished alumnus of Penn State, and he served as grand marshal for the university’s 2006 homecoming celebration. 


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