The last surviving Apollo 7 astronaut, Walter Cunningham, dies at 90
Walter Cunningham, who was the last surviving astronaut from the first successful crewed space mission in Nasa’s Apollo program, has died at the age of 90.
Bob Jacobs, a Nasa spokesperson, confirmed Cunningham’s death.
Dot Cunningham, Cunningham’s spouse, stated in a statement that Cunningham died on Tuesday, January 3, but didn’t give a cause of death.
Cunningham was among three astronauts on the 1968 Apollo 7 mission. an 11-day mission transmitted live broadcasts as it orbited Earth. It paved the way for the moon landing less than one year later.
Cunningham was a civilian at the time and crewed the mission along with US navy Capt Walter M Schirra (a US navy major) and Donn F Eisele (a US air force Major).
Cunningham was the lunar module pilot on the space flight, which launched from the Cape Kennedy air force station in Florida on 11 October and splashed down in the Atlantic south of Bermuda.
Nasa stated that Cunningham and Eisele flew near-perfect missions. Their spacecraft was so successful that the agency sent the next crew to orbit the moon as a prelude to the Apollo 11 moon landing in July 1969.
The Apollo 7 astronauts won a special Emmy award for their daily television reports from orbit.
It was Nasa’s first crewed space mission since the deaths of the three Apollo 1 astronauts in a launchpad fire on 27 January 1967.