Robert Henry Lawrence, Jr.
Robert Henry Lawrence, Jr. is credited by NASA for significant contributions to the development of the Space Shuttle. Lawrence piloted many jet aircraft during the late 1960s as a test pilot, logging over 2,000 hours. In June 1967, he was selected as an astronaut in the Air Force's Manned Orbital Laboratory (MOL) program, thus becoming the first black astronaut. Lawrence was killed on December 8, 1967 during a training exercise. On December 8, 1997, his name was inscribed on the Space Mirror Memorial at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida.