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Barbara Schwartz June 15, 1993

RELEASE 93-045

ASTRONAUT BLUFORD LEAVES NASA

Col. Guion S. Bluford, Jr., will leave NASA in July and retire from the U.S. Air Force to join NYMA, Inc., Greenbelt, Md., as Vice President and General Manager of the Engineering Services Division. NYMA provides engineering and

software support services to the Federal Aviation Administration, the Justice

Department, the Department of Defense and to NASA.

Bluford was among the first group of Shuttle-era astronauts selected in 1978. He has served as a mission specialist astronaut on 4 Space Shuttle flights, making history as the first African-American astronaut aboard STS-8 in August 1983. He also flew on STS-61A, the first German D-1 Spacelab mission in October 1985, and two Department of Defense scientific research missions, STS-39 in April 1991 and STS-53 in December 1992. Bluford has logged over 688 hours in space.

"I feel very honored to have served as a NASA astronaut and to have contributed to the success of the Space Shuttle program. I will miss working with the people at JSC and the team spirit and esprit de corps that comes with flying crew members in space," Bluford said.

In addition to his flight assignments, Bluford has held numerous technical

assignments at Johnson Space Center, Houston, including working Space Station Freedom operations, the Remote Manipulator System, Spacelab systems and experiments, Space Shuttle systems, payload safety issues, and verifying flight software in the Shuttle Avionics Integration Laboratory and in the Flight Systems Laboratory.

"Guy will be missed, but he leaves a legacy that is important to NASA and to the nation. There are many young people today who have been inspired to pursue careers in science and engineering because of his achievements," Director of Flight Crew Operations David. C. Leestma said.

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