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Frederick D. Gregory is a former astronaut and former deputy NASA administrator who first made history in 1978 as one of NASA’s first astronauts, among other achievements. Today is the Washington, D.C. native’s birthday.

Frederick Drew Gregory was born in 1941, graduating from Anacostia High School before obtaining his bachelor’s degree from the U.S. Air Force Academy. He then attended George Washington University to earn a master’s in information systems.

With Dr. Ronald McNair and Guy Bluford, Gregory and the others were the first Black astronauts selected as part of the 1978 space shuttle flight team class. Gregory’s historic flights include being the first African-American to pilot a shuttle with his 1985 Challenger flight, and in 1989, he was the first African-American space shuttle flight to command a mission aboard the Discovery.

After retiring from the skies and achieving the rank of colonel, the highly-decorated Gregory moved into management roles for NASA including a stint in the mid-2000’s as an acting director.

PHOTO: Public Domain

 

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