Walter Cunningham, the last living astronaut on NASA’s first manned space flight in 1968, has died at the age of 90.
And “NASA” announced, in a statement, on Tuesday, that “Cunningham, whose Apollo 7 mission in 1968 paved the way for the first human landing on the moon, a few months later in 1969, died Tuesday morning in Walter Cunningham.”
“Walter Cunningham was a fighter pilot, physicist, astronaut, and above all an explorer on Apollo 7, the first manned mission to the Moon,” said NASA Administrator Bill Nelson.
The US official noted that “Walter and his colleagues made history, paving the way for the generation of Artemis we see today.”
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“NASA will always remember his contributions to our nation’s space program, and sends its condolences to the Cunningham family,” Nelson added.
After his death, the Cunningham family also paid tribute to the late astronaut: in a statement, it says, “We would like to express our great pride in the life he led, and our deepest gratitude for being a patriot, explorer, pilot, astronaut, husband, brother, and father… The world has lost a true hero.” Another one, and we will miss him very much.”
Cunningham was born in 1932 in Iowa, USA, and received a BA with honors in Physics in 1960, and a Master’s degree with distinction in Physics in 1961 from the University of California.
In 1963, he was selected as a member of NASA’s third astronaut class.
In the first human flight test of the Apollo spacecraft (Apollo 7), he was chosen as the lunar module pilot for the 11-day mission.
Members of the Apollo 7 mission, including Cunningham, won an Emmy Award for their broadcasts in space.
Cunningham joined his colleagues, Walter Schirra and Don Eisele, in the mission, which consisted of 3 astronauts, which took place in near-Earth orbit as the first manned test flight of the new Apollo spacecraft, which later headed on a journey to the moon.