The Space Race Trailer Sheds Light On Little-Known Space History

National Geographic is coming out with a new documentary about the history of the first Black pilots, engineers, and scientists who became astronauts, and a new trailer for the feature reveals that these pioneers were not only in the U.S., but in the Russian space program as well.

The documentary, titled The Space Race, includes interviews with NASA astronauts past and present, as well as other pioneers in the field like Ed Dwight, whose candidacy to become the first Black astronaut in the early 1960s lost political support after Kennedy’s assassination. As the trailer also points out, the Russians had a Cuban of African descent, Arnaldo Tamayo Méndez, take part in their space program around the same time that NASA had three Black candidates—Ronald McNair, Guion Bluford, and Frederic Gregory—in their program.

Here’s the official synopsis:

The Space Race weaves together the stories of Black astronauts seeking to break the bonds of social injustice to reach for the stars, including Guion Bluford, Ed Dwight and Charles Bolden among many others. In The Space Race, directors Lisa Cortés and Diego Hurtado de Mendoza profile the pioneering Black pilots, scientists, and engineers who joined NASA to serve their country in space, even as their country failed to achieve equality for them back on Earth. From 1963, when the assassination of JFK thwarted Captain Ed Dwight’s quest to reach the moon, to 2020, when the echoes of the civil unrest sparked by the killing of George Floyd reached the International Space Station, the story of African Americans at NASA is a tale of world events colliding with the aspirations of uncommon men. The bright dreams of Afrofuturism become reality in The Space Race, turning science fiction into science fact, and forever redefining what “the right stuff” looks like, giving us new heroes to celebrate, and a fresh history to explore.

The Space Race will premiere on National Geographic on February 12, 2024, and will be available via streaming on Disney+ and Hulu the following day. Here’s the trailer as well as a poster for the documentary to keep your eyes on the stars until then:

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