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Thursday 01 October 2020


Michael Chinakwe's Inspiration: Guion Bluford

Today marks the start of Black History Month. We're celebrating the influences that Black History and culture has brought to our colleagues and community. Join us as we continue to educate ourselves; celebrate black talent, culture & history, and the ongoing fight for racial equality.

Our Operations Manager, Michael Chinakwe has shared his story of his inspiration, Guion Bluford:

"Who is my inspiration?

Guion Bluford

How did they inspire me?

I have always had a huge interest in Aerospace & Astrology since I was young. I remember getting my first telescope for my 6th birthday and staying up all night trying to spot different stars through the clear skies at night. That is when my parents taught me about Guy Bluford who was the first African American and the second person of African descent to go to space. Bluford was one of the 35 individuals selected in 1978 from 10,000 applicants in NASA's first competition to become space shuttle astronauts. As I grew older and began to read more into his achievements, I realised how resilient, motivated, tenacious, inquisitive and more this man was. To be able to achieve such things in the midst of racial tension and inequality in the 70s and beyond, truly inspired me.

I remember listening to an interview where he stated he laughed and giggled all the way into space during lift off! This reminded me of myself, always happy, smiling and laughing. It inspired me to continue to find happiness in all that I do.

Guion Bluford paved the way for other black Astronauts such as Mae Jemison who was the first black female to enter space. This inspired me to work hard in all that I do, no matter the odds. 

What did they inspire me to Achieve?

Over the years this has inspired me to achieve various things such as:

- Travelling across Europe playing sports at a competitive level in my teenage years

- Got me through my studies at university where I achieved a First Class Degree

- Achieving my 1st graduate job and being part of the 80 graduates taken onto the scheme out of thousands of applicants

As I strive to be a leader in the industry I'm currently in, I can only hope to replicate some of the amazing characteristics Guion Bluford showed when paving the way for others."