Walter Cunningham, An Astronaut For Apollo 7, Died At 90

The last living member of NASA's Apollo program Walter Cunningham

The last living member of NASA‘s Apollo program’s inaugural successful crewed space mission, Walter Cunningham, passed away on Tuesday in Houston. He was 90.

Walter Cunningham’s death was acknowledged by NASA in a statement, but the reason of death was left out. Walter Cunningham’s family reported that he passed away in a hospital “after complications of a fall, after a long and complete life,” through a representative named Jeff Carr.

One of the three astronauts on the Apollo 7 mission in 1968, which lasted 11 days and transmitted live television broadcasts as it orbited the Earth, Walter Cunningham helped pave the ground for the lunar landing less than a year later.

The mission’s crew also included majors Donn F. Eisele of the Air Force and Walter M. Schirra of the Navy. Walter Cunningham was a civilian at the time. On the space mission, which took out from Cape Kennedy Air Force Station in Florida on October 11 and splashed down in the Atlantic Ocean south of Bermuda, Walter Cunningham was the lunar module’s pilot.

According to NASA, Walter Cunningham, Eisele, and Schirra’s flight was almost flawless. As a warm-up for the Apollo 11 moon landing in July 1969, the organisation dispatched the following crew, Apollo 8, to orbit the moon in their spacecraft’s wake.

Walter Cunningham was “above all” an explorer, according to NASA Administrator Bill Nelson, whose work also served as the inspiration for the organization’s brand-new Artemis moon mission.

The Apollo 7 astronauts also received a special Emmy award for their day-to-day television reports from space, where they played jokes on viewers, held up amusing signs, and imparted knowledge on space travel.

 

It was NASA‘s first crewed space mission since the three men aboard Apollo 1 perished on January 27, 1967, in a launch pad fire.

Apollo 7 “allowed us to overcome all the challenges we had after the Apollo 1 fire and it became the longest, most successful test flight of any flying machine ever,” Walter Cunningham remembered during a 2017 event at the Kennedy Space Center.

According to NASA, Walter Cunningham was born in Creston, Iowa, and completed his high school education there before joining the Navy in 1951 and serving as a Marine Corps pilot in Korea. He later graduated with physics bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the University of California, Los Angeles, where he also pursued a doctorate. Before joining NASA, he worked as a scientist for the Rand Corporation.

Walter Cunningham recounted having a hard time growing up and fantasising of flying aeroplanes rather than spacecraft in an interview the year before he passed away.

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Walter Cunningham told The Spokesman-Review, “We never even knew that there were astronauts while I was growing up. Walter Cunningham worked in engineering, business, and investing after leaving NASA in 1971. He also started a radio show and became a public speaker. “The All-American Boys,” a memoir he wrote about his life as an astronaut and profession, was published. In his later years, he also voiced pessimism about how human activity contributes to climate change, going against the scientific mainstream in writing and public speeches despite admitting he wasn’t a climate expert.

Walter Cunningham was a supporter of space exploration even if he did not crew any additional space missions after Apollo 7. Last year, he stated, “I think that humanity need to continue expanding and pushing out the levels at which they’re thriving in space.” to the Spokane, Washington, newspaper.

Walter Cunningham was a supporter of space exploration even if he did not crew any additional space missions after Apollo 7. Last year, he stated, “I think that humanity need to continue expanding and pushing out the levels at which they’re thriving in space.” to the Spokane, Washington, newspaper.

His wife Dot, sister Cathy Cunningham, sons Brian and Kimberly, and daughter Brian survive Cunningham. Cunningham’s family released a statement in which they declared, “The world has lost another great hero, and we will mourn him sincerely.”

Astronaut Walter Cunningham Recalls His Trip Into Space On Apollo 7

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