DEAD: ON THIS DATE
Robert Henry Lawrence Jr.
-First African-American astronaut
Robert Henry Lawrence Jr. (October 2, 1935 – December 8, 1967), (Major, USAF), was a United States Air Force officer and the first African-American astronaut.
DEATH: Lawrence was killed in the crash of an F-104 Starfighter at Edwards Air Force Base, California, on December 8, 1967, at 32 years of age. He was flying backseat on the mission as the instructor pilot for a flight test trainee learning the steep-descent glide technique. The pilot flying made such an approach but flared too late. The airplane struck the ground hard, its main gear failed, it caught fire, and rolled. The front-seat pilot ejected upward and survived, with major injuries. The back seat, which delays a moment to avoid hitting the front seat, ejected sideways, killing Lawrence instantly.