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 to test the feasibility of space docking and rendezvous. However, the crew’s broadcast was also honored with an Emmy.
It opened the door for Apollo 11’s moon landing less than a year later.
Cunningham’s passing was confirmed by Nasa, which noted that he “was vital to the success of our Moon landing program.”
He passed away on Tuesday in a Houston hospital from natural causes “after a long and complete life,” according to a family representative.
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In a statement released by Nasa, the U.S. space agency, the Cunningham family stated, “We would want to convey our tremendous pleasure in the life that he lived, and our heartfelt gratitude for the man that he was – a patriot, an explorer, pilot, astronaut, husband, brother, and father.”
Another great hero has left the Earth, and we shall miss him terribly.
Walter Cunningham, who was up in Creston, Iowa, eventually attended the University of California, Los Angeles, where he received a master’s degree in physics. He was one of the three astronauts chosen for the first human-crewed spaceflight in the Apollo program, although he was still working as a civilian at the time.
Before retiring at the rank of colonel, he had served in the U.S. Navy and Marine Corps and flown 54 sorties over Korea in a fighter jet.
He started working as a public speaker and radio host after leaving NASA in 1971. Even though scientists generally agree that humans have contributed to Earth’s average temperature increase, he also openly rejected the idea that humans cause climate change.
In a 1999 interview with NASA, he discussed his perspective while serving as an astronaut.
I’m one of those people, he said, who never really looked back.
He continued, I didn’t understand it at the time, but I always wanted to be better prepared for the next stage. “All I remember is keeping my nose to the grindstone and wanting to do the best I could.”
“I have always had my eyes on the future. I don’t dwell on my past.”
Walter Cunningham Biography
On March 16, 1932, Walter Cunningham was born in Creston, Iowa. In 1950, he received his diploma from Venice High School in Los Angeles, California. Cunningham attended Santa Monica College after finishing high school, served in the U.S. Navy from 1951 to 1952, and started his aviation training. From 1953 to 1956, he was a fighter pilot with the U.S. Marine Corps, flying 54 missions in Korea as a night fighter pilot.
Cunningham first departed for Korea when armistice negotiations were still ongoing, and the Korean Armistice Agreement was signed just before he arrived. He served in the United States Marine Corps Reserve from 1956 to 1975, eventually leaving the service as a colonel.
Brian and Kimberley Cunningham were the offspring of Walter Cunningham and the former Lo Ella Irby of Norwalk, California. Eventually, Lo Ella and Walter were divorced. After serving in the military, Cunningham returned to Santa Monica College to continue his studies until moving to UCLA in 1958.
Both his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in arts and physics were awarded to Walter Cunningham by UCLA in 1960 and 1961, respectively. During his three years at RAND Corporation before being chosen by NASA, he finished all requirements for a Doctor of Philosophy degree in physics at UCLA, except the dissertation.