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Donald Slayton

Donald "Deke" Slayton was born on March 1, 1924, in Sparta, Wisconsin. Deke Slayton served as a B-25 pilot and flight instructor during World War II.

After the war, he left the Air Force and earned a degree in aeronautical engineering from the University of Minnesota. He worked for two years for the Boeing before being recalled to active duty in 1951.

In 1955, he attended the USAF Test Pilot School hten became a test pilot at Edwards Air Force Base, California.

In 1959, Slayton was named as one of the Mercury astronauts. A heart condition grounded him before his first space flight. He became Coordinator of Astronaut Activities and was responsible for the operation of the astronaut office. In 1963, he became Director of Flight Crew Operations where he was responsible for directing the activities of the astronaut office, the aircraft operations office, the flight crew integration division, the crew training and simulation division, and the crew procedures division.

In 1972, Slayton was restored to full flight status and certified eligible for manned space flights. He made his first space flight as Apollo docking module pilot for the Apollo-Soyuz Test Project mission in July of 1975.

After that, Slayton directed the Space Shuttle approach and landing test project then served as the Manager for Orbital Flight Test.

In 1982, Slayton retired from NASA. He founded Space Services, Inc. which developed rockets for delivering small commercial payload to space.

Slayton died on June 13, 1993, from complications of a brain tumor.


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