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Apollo Astronaut Frank Borman Dies At 95

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NASA said that Apollo astronaut Col. Frank Borman, who oversaw the first mission to orbit the moon, passed away in Billings, Montana. 95 years old.

“Today we remember one of NASA’s best. Astronaut Frank Borman was a true American hero. Among his many accomplishments, he served as the commander of the Apollo 8 mission,” said NASA Administrator Bill Nelson Thursday in a statement.

Borman passed away on November 7, the statement said.

In 1968, Borman and his fellow astronauts Jim Lovell and William Anders made history by being the first humans to orbit the moon and see “Earthrise” during the Apollo 8 mission. When our planet rose above the barren, ruined lunar surface for the first time, the crew took a picture of it. The result was an iconic image that will always be associated with the moon.

On Christmas Eve of that year, a message was sent back to Earth by the crew of Apollo 8.

“This is Apollo 8 coming to you live from the moon,” Borman announced after activating a small hand-held TV camera and showing viewers what the moon looked like from space.

Borman and his crewmates then shared lines from the Bible’s Book of Genesis, with Borman beginning: “We are now approaching lunar sunrise and for all the people back on Earth, the crew of Apollo 8 has a message that we would like to send to you. ‘In the beginning, God created heaven and Earth. …’”

According to NASA, Borman later discussed his Christmas Eve experience in an oral history, stating, “It had a great effect… for me.”

In 1962, Borman, a test pilot and fighter pilot in the Air Force, enrolled in NASA’s second astronaut class.

Prior to the Apollo 8 mission, Nelson was a member of the Gemini 7 crew, which, according to Nelson, conducted the first-ever close encounter in space, coming within a few feet of the Gemini 6 spacecraft during its 14-day orbit around the Earth.

According to a NASA biography, Borman served on the Apollo 204 review board in 1967, which looked into a fire that claimed the lives of three men on Apollo I. Later on, Borman would head the team responsible for reengineering the Apollo spacecraft.

As the CEO of Eastern Airlines, Borman carried on with his aviation profession after leaving NASA, the statement said.Following the death of Apollo astronaut Thomas K. Mattingly II on October 31 at the age of 87, comes his own.

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