Last Surviving Apollo 7 Astronaut Passes Away At 90
The last living member of Apollo 7, the first NASA mission to ever broadcast live TV from orbit, US astronaut Walter Cunningham, has passed away at the age of 90.
Apollo 7 was an 11-day manned mission that took place in October 1968 to test the feasibility of space docking and rendezvous.
The activities of Apollo 7 made, Apollo 11's moon landing possible, less than a year later.
Cunningham's passing was confirmed by Nasa, which noted that he was instrumental to the success of Nasa’s Moon landing program.
A family representative confirmed that he passed away on Tuesday in a Houston hospital from natural causes after a long and complete life.
"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 Cunningham family said in a statement shared by Nasa, the US space agency.
"The world has lost another true hero, and we will miss him dearly."
Cunningham, who was raised in Creston, Iowa, attended the University of California, Los Angeles, where he obtained a master's degree in physics.
He was joined by Air Force Major Donn Eisele and Navy Captain Walter Schirra as the lunar module pilot for Apollo 7.
Prior to retiring at the rank of colonel, he had served in the US Navy and Marine Corps and had flown 54 sorties over Korea in a fighter jet.
Cunningham started working as a public speaker and radio host after leaving NASA in 1971.