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He was born on March 1, 1924 in the vicinity of the city of Sparta, Wisconsin.
In 1942 he entered the United States Air Force and fought as a bomber pilot in Europe and Japan throughout the Second World War.
After the war, Slayton graduated in Aeronautical Engineering from the University of Minnesota.
Later he became a test pilot. Among the several fighters he tried at that time was decisive his participation in the examination of the F-105, the main American fighter used by the US Air Force in the Vietnam War.
In 1959, after a strict selection process, Deke Slayton was selected by NASA along with six other astronauts, to integrate the first group of Americans that would go to space under the Mercury project (the seven of the Mercury, The Mercury Seven ). Due to a heart murmur, he was removed from his mission in 1962, in which he would have been the second American to be in orbit and the fourth to travel into space. Deke Slayton was the only member of the Mercury’s seven group that did not go to space on a Mercury mission.
In 1963, retired from the Air Force, he began working at NASA as a civilian, with the function of choosing the crews of the Gemini and Apollo projects, including the decision that Neil Armstrong would be the first man to step on the Moon.
In July 1975 he made his first and only trip to space in the decisive joint US-Soviet Apollo-Soyuz mission. This mission was important, since it symbolized the end of the US-USSS space race begun in 1957 and that had lasted almost two decades.
Slayton retired from NASA in 1982 and died in 1993 due to a brain tumor that had been diagnosed a year before.
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