Man who wanted to be the first African in space killed in road accident


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A South African man who had won a competition to fly on a suborbital tourist flight has been killed in a motorcycle accident.

Mandla Maseko, 30, was killed on Saturday, a family statement says.

In 2013, the South African Air Force member beat one million entrants to win one of 23 places at a space academy in the US. Nicknamed Afronaut and Spaceboy, Maseko described himself as a typical township boy from Pretoria.

…He had spent a week at the Kennedy Space Centre in Florida doing tests in preparation for an hour-long sub-orbital flight, originally scheduled for 2015. Challenges included skydiving to earth from 10,000 feet and a test charmingly known as the “vomit comet”.

But the chance never came to go into space. The company organising the flight, XCOR Aerospace, went bankrupt in 2017, news site Space.com reported.

All around a terrible tragedy.

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