The first "Afronauta" died on the ground at the wheel of a motorcycle

Mandla Maseko

Mandla Maseko

Mandla Maseko, a 30-year-old South African, was going to be the first black African to travel in space. He beat a million candidates from 75 countries. He died on Saturday night.

Mandla Maseko was going to be the first black African to see Earth from space. But it was at the wheel of a motorcycle that he missed this and every other opportunity. He died on Saturday night, according to his family. The 30-year-old "afronaut" (as they called him) won in 2013 the right to fly 103 kilometers in space on board of the US space shuttle Lynx Mark, reported the AFP. He beat then a million applicants from 75 countries.

Maseko was selected with 22 other astronauts to complete the one-hour journey that would be remembered for life. To reach this level, the young South African passed several physical and psychological tests in the framework of the competition organized by the Apollo AXE Space Academy, sponsored by the British-Dutch company Unilever and a space tourism company, the Space Expedition Corporation (SEC).

The "afronaut" spent a week in high-competition training at the Kennedy Space Academy in Florida, which included skydiving, warplane flights and resistance to acceleration.

According to the schedule that was planned, Mandla Maseko should have flown in 2015, two years after winning the contest. But the moment was postponed. Now, forever.