On November 22, 1989 Frederick Gregory became the first African American space commander when the STS-33 launched from the Kennedy Space Center.
Frederick Gregory is a former Air Force combat rescue pilot and NASA astronaut. Gregory served in the Air Force for years as a combat rescue pilot before being recruited by NASA. In 1978, he was selected to be an astronaut officially starting his NASA journey.
While working at NASA, Gregory made history as the first African American to command a space shuttle flight (1989). Gregory officially retired from NASA in 2005 after serving as deputy administrator and acting administrator.