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Commander of the Apollo 8 mission, astronaut Frank Borman dies

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Astronaut, Frank Borman, dies, NASA, Apollo 8
Astronaut Frank Borman dies
  • Astronaut Frank Borman dies.
  • He was the commander of the Apollo 8 mission.
  • He leaves a lasting legacy in space exploration.

The world is mourning the loss of an iconic American astronaut.

Astronaut Frank Borman was the commander of the historic Apollo 8 flight on Christmas 1968 that circled the moon 10 times.

This mission paved the way for the moon landing the following year. Borman died on Tuesday, November 7 in Billings, Montana, at the age of 95, according to NASA.

The astronaut also headed the struggling Eastern Airlines in the 1970s.

Astronaut Frank Borman dies

Frank Borman, astronaut, United States, Apollo 8, NASA
PHOTO: Getty Images

Borman was best known for his work at NASA. He and his crew — James Lovell and William Anders — were the first Apollo mission to travel to the Moon.

On that flight they were able see the Earth as a distant sphere in space, according to The Associated Press.

«Today we remember one of NASA’s best.» Astronaut Frank Borman was a true American hero,” said NASA Administrator Bill Nelson.

In a statement issued Thursday, he noted: «His lifelong love for aviation and exploration was only surpassed by his love for his wife Susan.»

The Apollo 8 mission

travel, rocket, shuttle, booster, Apollo 8
PHOTO: Getty Images

Apollo 8 took off from Cape Canaveral, Florida, with three astronauts on board on December 21, 1968, spending three days traveling to the moon.

It entered lunar orbit on Christmas Eve. After circling the Moon 10 times between December 24 and 25, the astronauts returned home two days later.

On Christmas Eve, the astronauts read from Book of Genesis in a live broadcast from orbit.

«In the beginning, God created the heaven and the earth. And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep.»

«This must be what God sees»

Frank Borman, earth, moon, space, view
PHOTO: Shutterstock

Borman ended the broadcast with: «And from the crew of Apollo 8, we close with good night, good luck, a Merry Christmas, and God bless all of you — all of you on the good Earth.”

In his book, Countdown: An Autobiography, Borman said that Apollo 8 was originally supposed to orbit the Earth according to The Associated Press.

The success of the Apollo 7 mission in October 1968, which demonstrated the reliability of the system in long-duration flights, made NASA decide that the time had come to try to fly to the moon.

Borman described what the Earth looked like from space: «We were the first humans to see the world in its majestic totality… This must be what God sees.»

Astronaut Frank Borman dies

fire, clouds, tank, space, stars
PHOTO: Shutterstock

Born in Gary, Indiana, on March 14, 1928, Frank Borman was the oldest living American astronaut, until the day he died.

Now, that title passes to astronaut Jim Lovell, who is also 95 years old, although eleven days younger.

Borman’s passion for aviation developed from his childhood, and when he was a student in Arizona he financed his flying lessons by delivering newspapers.

After graduating from the United States Military Academy in 1950, Borman became an Air Force fighter pilot.

Frank Borman and his incredible experience

speed, time, stories, Christmas, trip
PHOTO: Shutterstock

According to Voz de América, like most astronauts of his generation, he received test pilot training before being selected to be part of NASA’s second astronaut program in 1962.

Borman highlighted the importance of that experience.

In his autobiography he stated: «We were veterans pilots before we became rookie astronauts, and that made the difference.»

Without a doubt, his death leaves a void that cannot be easily filled.

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