Pamela Robertson; Astronaut Was Set for Space Shuttle Mission

Pamela Hilliard Robertson, 38, a NASA astronaut, died May 24 of severe burns received in the crash of a small plane outside Houston.

Robertson, scheduled to take a space shuttle mission next year, was the passenger in a plane piloted by Roy Mack Paul Adams, 46, of Alvin, Texas, which was practicing landing and takeoff maneuvers. Witnesses said the plane cartwheeled and crashed into some trees, bursting into flames seconds later.

Robertson sustained second- and third-degree burns over 90% of her body in the crash. Adams remained in critical condition with severe burns.

Born in Indiana, Pa., Robertson earned a bachelor's degree in biology from Indiana University of Pennsylvania in 1985 and a medical degree from the Medical College of Pennsylvania in 1989. She was selected by NASA in June 1998 and became a candidate in training for the astronaut medical corps.

At the time of the accident, Robertson was serving as a crew support astronaut for the International Space Station.

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