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Young DJ set to be first black African in space

Published on Jan 22, 2014 11:25 AM

MABOPANE (AFP) - No one in Mandla Maseko's family has ever stepped outside South Africa, but the young township DJ is set to rocket into space next year.

From the dusty district of Mabopane, near Pretoria, 25-year-old Maseko has landed a coveted seat to fly 103km into space in 2015, after winning a competition organised by a US-based space academy.

He beat a million other entrants from 75 countries to be selected as one of 23 people who will travel on an hour-long sub-orbital trip on the Lynx Mark II spaceship.

The former civil engineering student - who was forced to put his studies on hold because he could not pay the fees -will experience zero gravity and a journey that normally comes with a US$100,000 (S$127,730) price tag - and is on course to become the first black African to enter space.

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