1924 – Astronaut "Deke" Slayton Born

On this date astronaut was born in Sparta. He graduated from Sparta High School and received a bachelor of science degree in Aeronautical Engineering from the University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, Minnesota, in 1949. Slayton entered the Air Force as an aviation cadet and received his wings in April 1943 after completing flight training at Vernon and Waco, Texas. During World War II, he flew 56 combat missions in Europe as a B-25 pilot with the 340th Bombardment Group and later joined the 319th Bombardment Group in Okinawa and flew seven combat missions over Japan in A-26s. Slayton was one of the original seven Project Mercury astronauts selected in April 1959 but did not make a space flight until 1975. He was assigned to fly the second Project Mercury orbital mission, but was grounded by an irregular heart beat. Slayton made his first space flight as Apollo . From December 1975 through November 1977, Slayton served as Manager for Approach and Landing Test Project. Slayton retired from NASA in 1982. Slayton died of brain cancer on June 13, 1993 in League City, Texas. [Source: ]