Man set to be first black African in Space, dies in bike crash

750 views | Ekpedeme Umoh | July 8, 2019

A South African man who won the chance to be the first black African in space, has died in a motorbike crash.

Mandla Maseko, a part-time DJ and candidate officer with the South African Air Force, was nicknamed “Afronaut” after landing a coveted seat to fly 103km into space in 2013 in a competition organized by a US-based space academy.

He died in a motorcycle accident on Saturday. The 30- year old beat a million other entrants from 75 countries to be selected as one of 23 people who would travel on an hour long suborbital trip on the Lynx Mark II spaceship.

His win was a source of national pride and had neighbors congratulating him for putting South Africa’s townships on the “galactic map”. He had spent a week at the Kennedy Space Academy in Florida where he skydived and undertook air combat and G-force training.

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