According to the Federation Aéronautique Internationale (FAI), 631 persons have been to space, out of which about 70 are women. Out of the 70 women, only five Black women have made the history of crossing the Kármán line.
According to FAI, the criterion for determining who has achieved spaceflight is through crossing the Kármán line. Kármán line is an acceptable boundary between earth’s atmosphere and outer space, used in defining the edge of space for legal and regulatory purposes since aircraft and spacecraft are subject to different jurisdictions and treaties.
The first-ever woman to travel into space is Valentina Vladimirovna of Russia, from June 16 to 19, 1963. She was launched into orbit aboard Vostok, making 45 revolutions around the earth in a 70-hour 50-minute space flight. Another woman Svetlana Savitskaya achieved the feat 19 years later. She became the first woman to perform a spacewalk and the first woman to go to space twice.
In 1992, 29 years after Vladimirovna’s success, Mae Carol Jemison made history as the first Black woman to travel into space. She flew to space as a mission specialist aboard the Space Shuttle Endeavor.
Below are the only five Black women who have ever traveled into space: