(Photo: U.S. Air Force)
On June 30, 1967 Maj. Robert H. Lawrence Jr. was chosen as the first African-American to enter a program that trained NASA astronauts. But the test pilot, with a doctorate in doctorate in physical chemistry, never flew among the stars. Lawrence died in an F-104 crash five months later, and became a motivational launch pad for other Black men and women that includes the late shuttle mission specialist Ronald E. McNair and the first Black Women astronaut, Mae C. Jemison. The current NASA Administrator, and former shuttle commander is Charles F. Bolden, Jr. He became NASA’s first Black chief executive in 2009. Check out the other Black past, current and candidate astronauts.