Walter Cunningham, NASA astronaut aboard the historic Apollo 7 mission, dies at 90
The Legendary Apollo Astronaut Walter Cunningham has died at the age of 90.
Legendary Apollo Astronaut Walter Cunningham died in Houston on January 3, 2023 in the early morning hours of Tuesday. He was 90. Cunningham flew into space on Apollo 7, the historic first flight with crew in NASA's Apollo Program, he was 90 years old.
“Walt Cunningham was a fighter pilot, physicist, and an entrepreneur – but, above all, he was an explorer. On Apollo 7, the first launch of a crewed Apollo mission, Walt and his crewmates made history, paving the way for the Artemis Generation we see today,” said NASA Administrator Bill Nelson.
“NASA will always remember his contributions to our nation's space program and send our condolences to the Cunningham family.”
The Cunningham family has released the following statement: “We would like to express our immense pride in the life that he lived, and our deep gratitude for the man that he was – a patriot, an explorer, pilot, astronaut, husband, brother, and father. The world has lost another true hero, and we will miss him dearly.”
Early Life of Astronaut Walter Cunningham
Cunningham was born March 16, 1932, in Creston, Iowa. He graduated from Venice High School, in Venice, California, before going on to receive a Bachelor of Arts with honors in physics in 1960 and a Master of Arts with distinction in physics in 1961 from the University of California at Los Angeles. He then completed a doctorate in physics with the exception of thesis at the Advanced Management Program in the Harvard Graduate School of Business in 1974.
The legendary Astronaut joined the Navy in 1951 and served on active duty with the U.S. Marine Corps, retiring with the rank of colonel. He flew 54 missions as a night fighter pilot in Korea. He worked as a scientist for the Rand Corporation for three years. While with Rand, he worked on classified defence studies and problems related to the Earth's magnetosphere. Cunningham has accumulated more than 4,500 hours of flying time in 40 different aircraft, including more than 3,400 in jet aircraft.