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Caltech Alumnus and Apollo Astronaut Frank Borman (1928–2023)

Published on Wednesday, November 29, 2023 | 5:07 am

Frank Borman, a NASA astronaut who commanded Apollo 8, the first crewed mission to orbit the Moon and return safely to Earth, died November 7 in Billings, Montana. He was 95.

Borman, who earned his master’s in aeronautical engineering from Caltech in 1957, was the first person to be named a distinguished alumnus by GALCIT (Graduate Aerospace Laboratories at Caltech). He was internationally known as a pioneer in the exploration of space, a veteran of Gemini 7 and commander of the 1968 Apollo 8 mission. A career Air Force officer, he served as a fighter pilot, an experimental test pilot, and, at the United States Military Academy West Point, an assistant professor of thermodynamics and fluid mechanics.

In 1969, Borman became a special advisor to Eastern Airlines, and he was elected president and chief operating officer of the company in 1975. He was named CEO later that year and chair of the board in 1976.

Borman received the Congressional Space Medal of Honor in 1978. In 1993, he was inducted into the U.S. Astronaut Hall of Fame. To date, he is one of a dozen Caltech alums to have served in NASA’s astronaut corps.

“Frank knew the power exploration held in uniting humanity when he said, ‘Exploration is really the essence of the human spirit,'” said NASA Administrator Bill Nelson in a statement. “His service to NASA and our nation will undoubtedly fuel the Artemis Generation to reach new cosmic shores.”

For more on Borman’s life and accomplishments, see his New York Times obituary.

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