Slayton, Donald K., 1924-1993

Alternative names
Birth 1924-03-01
Death 1993-06-13

Biographical notes:

Donald "Deke" Kent Slayton (1924-1993), U.S astronaut, was born in Sparta, Wisconsin. He was one of the original "Mercury Seven" NASA astronauts.

From the description of Slayton, Donald K., 1924-1993 (U.S. National Archives and Records Administration). naId: 10574511

Deke Slayton was born in 1924 in Wisconsin, graduated from high school, and then enlisted in the Army Air Corps in 1942. He completed his flight training and was commissioned in 1943. He was assigned to Europe where he flew combat missions with the 340th Bombardment Group. He returned to the United States and became an instructor pilot of B-25s. In 1945, he was sent to Okinawa, flying combat missions in A-26s before the Japanese surrender. After the war, Slayton once again was an instructor pilot and in 1946 he was discharged from the Air Force. He attended the University of Minnesota where he received a Bachelor of Science degree in Aeronautical Engineering in 1949. Slayton was recalled to active duty in 1951 and stationed in Minneapolis before being sent to Germany. He was then sent to USAF Test Pilot School in California where he remained until 1959 when he was named as one of the Mercury Seven astronauts. Several months later, however, he was released from that assignment due to a heart condition. Slayton soon resigned his commission and worked for NASA as a civilian where he was Director of Flight Crew Operations from 1963 until 1972. By 1972, Deke Slayton was certified as eligible for manned space flights. In 1975 he was named the Apollo docking module pilot for the Apollo-Soyouz Test Project, a successful endeavor with the Soviets. Although this was Slayton's only space flight, he remained a manager and director for other NASA space exploits until 1982. He then founded a company to develop rockets for small commercial payloads, however, he died the following year from complications of a brain tumor.

From the description of Donald Kent "Deke" Slayton collection, 1943-1945. (US Air Force Academy). WorldCat record id: 748588990


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  • Astronauts--Medical examinations
  • World War, 1939-1945--Personal narratives, American
  • Astronauts
  • World War, 1939-1945--Campaigns
  • World War, 1939-1945--Aerial operations, American
  • Space flight to the moon--History


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  • United States (as recorded)
  • Europe (as recorded)
  • Pacific Area (as recorded)