Astronaut Frank Borman, commander of the legendary Apollo 8 mission, the first to orbit the moon, has died at the age of 95, the US space agency (NASA) announced today.
Bill Nelson, head of the North American Space Agency, was quoted in a statement as saying, “Frank Borman was a true American hero.”
NASA said that the astronaut died on Tuesday in Montana.
Passionate about aviation, he began his career as an officer in the North American Air Force.
“His exceptional experience and knowledge led him to be selected by NASA to join its second group of astronauts,” Bill Nelson said.
In 1965, Borman went into space for the first time during the 14-day Gemini 7 mission.
This mission carried out the first space encounter, and was able to get within a few tens of centimeters of the Gemini 6 spacecraft.
The Apollo 8 mission launched in December 1968, carrying Frank Borman and two other astronauts, James Lovell and William Anders.
The famous “Earthrise” photo was taken during this mission.
“Your service to NASA and our nation will undoubtedly inspire the Artemis generation to reach new cosmic shores,” said Bill Nelson.
NASA plans to return to the Moon with the Artemis program, the successor to Apollo.
The Artemis 2 mission is expected to launch in late 2024 and orbit the moon with a crew on board, a mission comparable to the Apollo 8 mission.
This time, NASA wants to establish a permanent human presence on the Moon, with the aim of making Earth’s natural satellite a launching point for manned missions to Mars.
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