[Walter Cunningham] [NASA Logo]
National Aeronautics and Space Administration

Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center
Houston, Texas 77058

Biographical Data

NAME: R. Walter Cunningham
NASA Astronaut

Born March 16, 1932, in Creston, Iowa. His parents, Mr. and Mrs. Walter W. Cunningham, reside in Venice, California.
Blond hair; hazel eyes; height: 5 feet 10 inches; weight: 165 pounds.

Graduated from Venice High School, Venice, California; received a Bachelor of Arts degree with honors in Physics in 1960 and a Master of Arts degree in Physics in 1961 from the University of California at Los Angeles; has completed work at UCLA on doctorate in Physics with exception of thesis. Advanced Management Program, Harvard Graduate School of Business, 1974.


Brian, September 12, 1960; Kimberly, February 12, 1963.

He is an avid sports enthusiast and is particularly interested in hunting, tennis, and sports.

Associate Fellow of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics; Fellow of the American Astronautical Society; member of the Society of Experimental Test Pilots; the American Geophysical Union; Explorers Club; Sigma Pi Sigma, and Sigma Xi. Chairman of UCLA Alumni Fund Drive, 1969 and 1970; member of Steering Committee of the Aviation Subcommittee of the Houston Chamber of Commerce, and a Member of Houston American Revolution Bicentennial Commission. Director of University Savings Association, Houston, Texas. Director of Nitron Inc., Cupertino, California.

Awarded the NASA Exceptional Service Medal and Navy Astronaut Wings; corecipient of the AIAA 1969 Haley Astronautics Award; and presented the UCLA Alumni Professional Achievement Award for 1969 and the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences Special Trustee Award (1969); the American Legion Medal of Valor, and Outstanding American Award of the American Conservative Union, 1975.

Cunningham joined the Navy in 1951 and began his flight training in 1952. In 1953 he joined a Marine squadron and served on active duty with the United States Marine Corps until August 1956 and in the Marine Corps Reserve program until 1975. His present rank is Colonel USMCR (Retired).

He worked as a scientist for the RAND Corporation 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, including more than 3,400 in jet aircraft and 260 hours in space.

Mr. Cunningham was one of the third group of astronauts selected by NASA in October 1963.

On October 11, 1968, he occupied the lunar module pilot seat for the eleven-day flight of Apollo 7, the first manned flight test of the third generation United States spacecraft. With Walter M. Schirra, Jr., and Donn F. Eisele, Cunningham participated in and executed maneuvers enabling the crew to perform exercises in transposition and docking, and lunar orbit rendezvous with the S-IVB stage of their Saturn IB launch vehicle; completed eight successful test and maneuvering ignitions of the service module propulsion engine; measured the accuracy of performance of all spacecraft systems; and provided the first effective television transmissions of on-board crew activities.

The 260-hour, 4 1/2 million mile shakedown flight was successfully concluded on October 22, 1968, with splashdown occurring in the Atlantic, some eight miles from the carrier ESSEX (only 3/10 of a mile from the originally predicted aiming point).

Mr. Cunningham's last assignment at the Johnson Space Center was Chief of the Skylab Branch of the Flight Crew Directorate. In this capacity he was responsible for the operational inputs for five separate major pieces of manned space hardware and two different boosters that comprised the Skylab program. The Skylab program utilized the first manned systems employing arrays for electrical power, molecular sieves for environmental control systems, and inertia storage devices for attitude control systems.

Mr. Cunningham is presently the sole principal in the Capital Group, a private investment banking firm headquartered in Houston, Texas.


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