Astronaut Frank Borman, commander of the first manned flight to circle the moon, died Tuesday (Nov. 7) in Billings, Montana. He was 95. Borman spent almost 20 full days in space over two missions and later served as the leader of Eastern Airlines. He was a committed general aviation pilot, very active in the effort to promote safety among the Mitsubishi MU-2 pilot community.
Borman was the oldest living astronaut, a distinction now passed to Jim Lovell, who is also 95, but 11 days younger. In a statement, current NASA administrator Bill Nelson said, “Frank began his career as an officer with the U.S. Air Force. His love of flying proved essential through his positions as a fighter pilot, operational pilot, test pilot, and assistant professor. His exceptional experience and expertise led him to be chosen by NASA to join the second group of astronauts.
“In addition to his critical role as commander of the Apollo 8 mission, he is a veteran of Gemini 7, spending 14 days in low-Earth orbit and conducting the first rendezvous in space, coming within a few feet of the Gemini 6 spacecraft.”
Jack Pelton, chairman and CEO of the Experimental Aircraft Association, said, “We at EAA came to know him for more than 30 years as an enthusiastic aviator and supporter of programs that would build on the legacy of Mercury, Gemini, and Apollo. We were honored in 2018 when Frank donated his personal archives to EAA, which are now on display at the EAA Aviation Museum, and always welcomed him back to Oshkosh when he could join us here. We express our condolences to Frank’s family and many friends, and say to Frank, Godspeed, and thank you.”