Walter Cunningham

NASA Apollo 7 Astronaut Walter Cunningham Passes Away At Age 90

At age 91, we are deeply saddened to hear of the passing of NASA Astronaut Walter Cunningham.

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Jay Keegan

Jay Keegan

Tue Jan 03 2023Written by Jay Keegan

At age 90, we are deeply saddened to hear of the passing of NASA Astronaut Walter Cunningham.

His Life


Graduated from Venice High School, Venice, California; received 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; completed a Doctorate in Physics with exception of thesis; Advanced Management Program, Harvard Graduate School of Business, 1974; NASA (Space Sciences and Geology) with 2,000 hours, 1963-1971.

Navy Experience

Cunningham enlisted in the Navy in 1951 and began his flight training in 1952. In 1953, he took his commission as a 2nd Lt and served on active duty with the United States Marine Corps (USMC), flying 54 missions as a night fighter pilot in Korea. From 1956 through 1975, he served in USMC reserve squadrons. His present rank is Colonel, U.S. Marine Corps (retired). He worked as a scientist for the Rand Corporation for three years prior to joining NASA. While with Rand, he worked on classified defense studies and problems of the Earth's magnetosphere. He has accumulated more than 4,500 hours of flying time in 40 different aircraft, including more than 3,400 in jet aircraft and 263 hours in space.

NASA Experience

Walter was selected by NASA in 1963 as the agency's third class of Astronauts.

Cunningham was the pilot of the Apollo 7 mission with his fellow crew members Wally Schirra and Donn F. Eisele.

Prior to his assignment on Apollo 7, Cunningham was selected as the backup Lunar Module Pilot for Apollo 1, and the primary Crew for Apollo 2 however Apollo 2 was cancelled following the loss of Apollo 1 and its crew of 3.

Thank you for your service Walter.

Our thoughts go out to Walter's friends and family.

You can learn more about Walter's career in his Astronaut profile -