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The first African-American astronaut will soon get a fitting spaceflight tribute, if all goes according to plan. One of the 64 small satellites flying atop a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket on the upcoming SSO-A SmallSat Express mission carries a 24-karat-gold jar that encases a bust of Robert Henry Lawrence Jr., IEEE Spectrum reported earlier this month. In June 1967, the U.S. Air Force selected Lawrence — who had already risen to the rank of major within that military branch — for the Manned Orbiting Laboratory (MOL) program. A joint effort of the Air Force and the National Reconnaissance Office, MOL aimed to establish small, crewed space stations in Earth orbit that would help the U.S. spy ... Full story

1 December