Walter Cunningham (2014): Mourning the loss of a space pioneer
Photo: Steven Senne / dpa
The last astronaut to take part in the first manned Apollo space flight in 1968 is dead: Walter Cunningham died in Houston on Tuesday at the age of 90, according to the US space agency Nasa.
Nasa boss Bill Nelson recognized Cunningham as a discoverer who, together with his comrades, paved the way for today's "Artemis" generation.
On October 11, 1968, Cunningham took off for the eleven-day Apollo 7 mission under the command of Walter Schirra and with Donn Fulton Eisele.
The mission was a success for NASA - the many tests provided important information.
This also paved the way for the moon landing a year later.
There was a lot at stake on the Apollo 7 mission: about a year and a half earlier, three NASA astronauts died in the fire in the Apollo 1 capsule during an exercise.
The 263-hour, approximately 7.2-million-kilometer flight ended on October 22, 1968 in the Atlantic Ocean.
For the first time, Apollo 7 had a camera with it that enabled live broadcasts on television – a PR coup for Nasa, for which it even won a renowned US television prize, the Emmy.
Eisele died in 1987, Schirra in 2007.
Cunningham was born on March 16, 1932 in Creston, Iowa.
The qualified physicist was selected as an astronaut in 1963.
In 1971 he left NASA.
He then managed several companies.
He also hosted radio talk shows.
Cunningham leaves behind his wife and two children.
His family said: "The world has lost another true hero and we will miss him dearly."