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Walter Cunningham, surviving astronaut of “Apollo 7” dies at 90

photo credit : NASA Press 


One of the last living astronauts Ronnie Walter Cunningham, of “Apollo 7”, passed away on Tuesday, January 3rd. NASA announced that he passed away in Houston, TX, while his family stood by his side. A great astronaut, and native city boy of Creston, Iowa, he began his journey exploring the world when he joined the navy seals. He then transferred to the U.S. Marine Corps to take a new step in his military career as a fighter pilot. He chose to complete his deployment for 3 years till 1956, after making a move to further his education. According to Encyclopedia Britannica, his focus began in science physics while completing his studies at UCLA, although he discontinued his doctoral degree in 1963.


 



Photo Credit :nasa



Reasonably, to take the initiative to conjoin with 2 other NASA crew members Walter “Wally” Schott’s and Donnie Eisele, to create the first space flight in American history. When launching this project, they trained for weeks to reach the required stats for approval to fly on “Apollo 7”. This taking a new inspiration for NASA and future generations to travel to space as well. After launching, he and the rest of the crew began to fly until the aircraft malfunctioned making their return and ended in an explosive collision hundreds of feet from the ground. Cunningham, being the only surviving pilot from a secondary flight accident. After the launch of the first “Apollo 1”, ending the lives of the first crew planning a flight into space months before. His time as a NASA chief inspired the late former astronauts Neil Armstrong and Edwin “Buzz” Aldrin, who set foot on the moon for the first time in history. 


After the incident, he began working in at the NASA headquarters with a different perspective on his career. He decided to give back as an investor and a supporting executive, setting an example for other colleagues in the aeronautical field. When he worked in Houston, they described him as an “explorer”, “pilot, and physicist” before retiring from NASA in 1971. Cunningham decided to remain in the great city of Houston, Texas, when he retired to be a motivational speaker around the country and on air. According to NASA TV, staff at the Johnson Space Center say they are beholden by the service and dedication that Cunningham brought to human exploration. His family says they will remember how proud they are of the life he lived as a patriotic hero, explorer, pilot, and astronaut for the world.


https://www.c-span.org/video/?455846-1/walter-cunningham-oral-history-interview

Source credits: c-span tv


In short, he has earned much recognition not just in the U.S., but globally as well. Like, many achievements as an Emmy award winner, becoming a NASA medalist and many spots in the Space Hall of Fame are what people will remember him for. His legacy and service will live on and his story will be remembered for many years to come. The great physicist has been a historical figure in the space industry for current astronauts and an inspiration for future aerospace engineers in the NASA organization.


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