The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) announced the passing of Walter Cunningham, the former American astronaut. He had been a part of the Apollo 7 mission in 1968, the first crewed mission of the Apollo program, and was a precursor to the first-ever human landing on the moon nine months later. Cunningham was 90 years old.

“We carried the nation’s hope with us,” Cunningham wrote in his memoir, “The All-American Boys” (1977). 

“Twenty-one months before, a fire on the very pad from which we launched had killed three of our teammates. One more setback now, and the prospects of landing a man on the moon before 1970 would be gone forever.”

“The task wasn’t only technical,” he added. “We also had to address any psychological barriers that still remained.”