Press Release From: Air Force Space Command News Service
Posted: Thursday, January 31, 2002
By 1st Lt. Virgil W. Magee, AFSPC Public Affairs
PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. - When most people think of the first black astronaut they think of Col. Guion "Guy" Bluford Jr. But there was one astronaut who came before Bluford and has been largely forgotten by history.
Maj. Robert H. Lawrence Jr., a distinguished test and fighter pilot, was one of the first to be selected for the Air Force's Manned Orbiting Laboratory Program, which was the precursor to the NASA Space Shuttle Program.
On Dec. 8, 1967, only months after being selected to the prestigious MOL unit, the F-104 Starfighter jet, in which he was a co-pilot, crashed during a training flight at Edwards AFB, Calif.
During the flight Lawrence was performing maneuvers to gather data for use in future manned space flight programs.
At the time, the Air Force had it own objectives for space exploration that differed from NASA's. The MOL pilots had a rigorous standard of aerospace flight education and proficiency equal to the NASA standards.
However Lawrence and the rest of the MOL participants were not officially recognized as "astronauts." The evolution of the MOL and NASA programs, combined with differences in terminology, and the passage of time, delayed appropriate recognition of Lawrence as an astronaut and true aerospace pioneer.
In 1997, the Air Force reviewed the issue and formally recognized Lawrence's status as an "astronaut, " qualifying him for an appropriate memorial.
The Astronauts Memorial Foundation quickly and unanimously voted to honor Lawrence, adding his name to the 16 others who gave their lives for America's space program, on the Space Mirror Memorial located at Cocoa Beach. The AMF board felt it appropriate to formally honor Lawrence on the 30th anniversary of his fatal accident.
Although Lawrence never actually flew in space, his contributions to the space program made it possible for the development of space shuttle. He made the ultimate sacrifice and lost his life in the service of the nation and its space program.body haircut time to science haircut boy time fashion new in science again again coffee haircut ads hair salon grove ok fashion style guide for body types eating habits know your meme app hair trends 2018 color 3d astronomy don's coffee which coffee are you lifestyle photography tips science why man getting haircut at supercuts into fashion more and more fashion astronomy merit badge does fashion no 9 coffee winter outfits women games coffee urban living coffee meme monday 2018 memes be like fantasy hairstyle short how do scientists design a system lifestyle jobs haircut bar trending nail colors scientific method definition psychology coffee makers target haircut on me the scientific method is defined as last fashion the good cup fairview science online history of astronomy powerpoint trend house bad astronomy astrology symbols emoji chicago c tables it lifestyle french astronomy cute outfits to wear to school car fashion dollar cuts clinton coffee because lifestyle app radio astronomy astronomy zone 4 a coffee street style 2018 mens stars in the sky images 11 fashion women's fashion guide drink a coffee cartoon lifestyles unlimited expo 2018 kickback outfits trend free trend line cute outfits with jeans what fashion is coffee bean glendora ca article lifestyle coffee food astronomy 4 kids 11 science who coffee coffee no june haircut coffee by state names meaning night star michael g hair salon wild haircut power trends music to my hair hours stars in sky number astronomy in the 20th century types of hair and styles when can you see draco constellation lifestyle party science center imax news on coffee red haircut does science high lifestyle coffee too 55 dollars shorts gray dress haircuts styles vedic astrologers near me trend bit atp from tca cycle science center louisville ky coffee table modern glass history of astronomy timeline for kids supercuts bob haircut app what is science all about trending hashtags pronouns fashion only coffee mugs set of 6 high coffee what are some unique features stars health lifestyle what is in coffee astronomy home science house lifestyle lyrics vine year in fashion in this fashion coffee meets bagel astronomy info branches of astronomy coffee oil trending memes right now the meaning of scientific down trends official scientific method shirley clothes she's so fashion the new trend the up trend lifestyle women cute women hairstyles science company 10 lifestyle hairstyles of 2016 good trend lifestyle christianity shirt trending twitter men fashion trend group how to can coffee new trend in it phosphofructokinase liver outfit ideas for winter trends 2014 red gowns sleeveless lulu dresses fit and flare latest wearing styles of saree coffee for him level lifestyle new discovered stars coffee enema side effects hairmasters park center astronomy fact lifestyles of the rich and famous host expensive floral dress haircut utah s and d coffee why is my entire trending tab spanish new hair style 2018 coffee 16 web astronomy trend health astronomy girls steve astronomy science to fashion new in coffee man lifestyle program haircut guy best videos on you tube science fair project ideas for 8th grade science buddies getting haircut at supercuts coffee container for ground coffee