Astronaut Frank Borman Passes Away
Frank Borman will forever be remembered as the commander of Apollo 8, the mission that circled the moon 10 times and laid the groundwork for the lunar landing that followed. Alongside his crewmates, James Lovell and William Anders, Borman embarked on the first Apollo mission to venture to the moon. On Christmas Eve in 1968, they achieved a remarkable feat by reading from the Book of Genesis in a live telecast from the lunar orbiter, providing a moment of reflection and unity during a time of global significance.
Gemini 7 and Beyond
Prior to Apollo 8, Borman and Lovell had flown together during the Gemini 7 mission, where they completed the first space orbital rendezvous with Gemini 6. The challenges they faced during the Gemini program paved the way for Apollo missions, highlighting the monumental shift from cramped quarters to more comfortable spacecraft.
The Race to the Moon
Borman’s leadership played a crucial role in the decision to send Apollo 8 to the moon. This mission was not only about exploration but also a race against the Russians. The success of Apollo 7’s mission in 1968 to demonstrate system reliability prompted NASA to change its plans and aim for the moon. Borman’s determination to beat the Russians to this milestone was a significant driving force behind the decision.
One of the iconic moments of Apollo 8 was captured by William Anders when he snapped the “Earthrise” photo, revealing a blue and white Earth rising above the lunar landscape. Borman described the emotional impact of seeing Earth from a distance, likening it to what he imagined God might see.
Beyond Apollo: Eastern Airlines
Following his astronaut career, Frank Borman ventured into the world of business by leading Eastern Airlines in the 1970s and early ’80s. As the airline’s president, CEO, and chairman, he navigated challenges such as rising fuel prices and industry deregulation. Despite the difficulties, Borman’s aviation expertise continued to shine.
A Lifelong Love for Aviation
Borman’s fascination with flying began in his teens when he and his father built model airplanes. He later pursued flying lessons, funding them with earnings from after-school jobs. His passion for aviation endured throughout his life, with Borman continuing to fly into his 90s.
A Life Well-Lived
Frank Borman’s journey from a young aviation enthusiast to a pioneering astronaut and aviation executive is a testament to his dedication and love for exploration. He leaves behind a legacy that encompasses not only the historic Apollo 8 mission but also his contributions to the aviation industry and the pursuit of knowledge.