Walter Cunningham Dies: American astronaut, fighter pilot, scientist, entrepreneur, venture investor, and author of the 1977 book The All-American Boys Ronnie Walter Cunningham (March 16, 1932 – January 3, 2023). In 1968, he piloted the lunar module on Apollo 7 as NASA’s third civilian astronaut (after Neil Armstrong and Elliot See).
Apollo Astronaut Walter Cunningham Dies At 90!
According to NASA, former astronaut Walter Cunningham, who piloted the first crewed flight in the Apollo program, passed away early Tuesday morning. He was 90 years old. In 1963, Cunningham joined NASA as a part of its third astronaut class, making him one of the program’s earliest members.
Apollo 7 was the first manned flight of the NASA program, and he was chosen to pilot it. This mission resulted in the first human landing on the moon. In a statement provided to NASA, the Cunningham family said, “We would want to express our tremendous pleasure in the life that he lived, and our heartfelt gratitude for the man that he was – a patriot, an explorer, a pilot, an astronaut, a husband, a brother, and a father.”
We’ve lost a great hero, and his passing is deeply felt by all of us. To prove the Apollo capsule could successfully meet with another spacecraft in orbit and open the way for future exploration deeper into space, the Apollo 7 mission began in 1968 and lasted for about 11 days.
According to NASA, it was also the site of the first live TV broadcast of Americans in space. Apollo 7’s crew also comprised astronauts Wally Schirra and Don Eisele, but only Cunningham made it back to Earth.
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Cunningham was 36 years old when Apollo 7 took off. He was born in Creston, Iowa, and received a bachelor’s degree with honors in physics and a master’s degree with distinction in physics from the University of California, Los Angeles. His thoughts on his career and what drove him forward were recorded in an interview with NASA’s Oral History Office in 1999.
I’m one of those people who has moved on without much reflection. “It wasn’t until someone asked me about it after I became an astronaut that I realized I had forgotten about it,” Cunningham explained.
“All I can recall is keeping my head down and trying my hardest; I didn’t know it at the time, but that was because I always wanted to be better prepared for the next step. Always optimistic, I have focused on what lies ahead. I try not to dwell on the past.
Despite only making one trip into space, Cunningham rose up the ranks at NASA to become a leader in the Skylab program (the first American space station, which orbited the Earth from 1973 to 1979).
Apollo 7 Astronaut Walter Cunningham Dies At 90!
The last living member of the first NASA mission to ever broadcast live T.V. from orbit, U.S. astronaut Walter Cunningham, has away at the age of 90.
Apollo 7 was an 11-day crewed mission in 1968 tohttps://t.co/vArVKbYaVp pic.twitter.com/0PE7TYR4cd
— News Watchlist (@newswatchlist64) January 4, 2023
According to his official NASA biography, Cunningham entered the US Navy in 1952 and began his training as a pilot that same year. He later served as a fighter pilot with the US Marine Corps on 54 flights over the Korean Peninsula.
According to Cunningham’s interview with NASA’s Oral History Office, “the only thing I can ever recall doing particularly to become an astronaut since I looked at it that I had become one of, if not the best, fighter pilot in the world,” was to join the Air Force.
According to NASA, Cunningham also earned a Ph.D. in physics from UCLA without writing a dissertation and an MBA from Harvard Business School in 1974. Before becoming an astronaut, he was a physicist at the non-profit military think tank Rand Corporation.
Once Cunningham left the space agency, he took on numerous other responsibilities in the commercial sector. According to his NASA bio, he has worked as a consultant for startups, an executive at several development firms, an entrepreneur, an investor, and, most recently, a radio broadcaster.
Cunningham later evolved into a staunch opponent of conventional wisdom regarding human contribution to climate change. If you find this to be interesting, please forward it along to your friends. Visit Lighthousejournal.org for the most up-to-date and recent celebrity news.