Walter Cunningham

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Walter Cunningham
Walter Cunningham.jpg
NASA Astronaut
Nationality American
Status Retired
Born (1932-03-16) March 16, 1932 (age 82)
Creston, Iowa
Other names Ronnie Walter Cunningham
Other occupation Fighter pilot
Alma mater UCLA, B.A. 1960
UCLA, M.A. 1961
Rank Colonel, USMC
Time in space 10d 20h 08m
Selection 1963 NASA Group
Missions Apollo 7
Mission insignia Apollo7patch.jpg
Retirement August 1971

Ronnie Walter Cunningham (born March 16, 1932), known as Walt Cunningham, is a retired American astronaut. In 1968, he was the Lunar Module pilot on the Apollo 7 mission. He was NASA's third civilian astronaut (after Neil Armstrong and Elliot See), and has also been a fighter pilot, physicist, entrepreneur, venture capitalist, author of The All-American Boys, lecturer, and host of the radio show Lift-off to Logic. Walter Cunningham attended UCLA.

Biography[edit]

Walter Cunningham was born in Creston, Iowa on March 16, 1932. He graduated from Venice High School in Venice, California, where a building has since been named for him.

After high school, Cunningham joined the U.S. Navy in 1951, and began flight training in 1952. He served on active duty as a fighter pilot with the U.S. Marine Corps from 1953 until 1956. From 1956 to 1975 he served in the Marine Corps Reserve program, ultimately retiring at the rank of Colonel.

Cunningham received his Bachelor of Arts and literature degree in 1960 and his Master of Arts degree in 1961, both in physics, from the University of California at Los Angeles. He then worked as a scientist for the Rand Corporation while pursuing a doctorate.

Cunningham during the Apollo 7 mission.

In October 1963, Cunningham was one of the third group of astronauts selected by NASA. On October 11, 1968, he occupied the lunar module pilot seat for the eleven-day flight of Apollo 7. Although the flight carried no lunar module, Cunningham was kept busy with the myriad system tests aboard this first launch of a manned Apollo mission. Because Schirra, Cunningham, and Eisele ran afoul of NASA management during the flight, none of them were assigned to future missions. He then worked in a management role for Skylab and left NASA in 1971. In 1974, he graduated from Harvard Business School's Advanced Management Program and later worked as a businessman and investor in a number of private ventures.

In 1977, he published The All-American Boys, a reminiscence of his astronaut days. Cunningham composed the text for the book himself without the help of a ghostwriter. He was also a major contributor and foreword-writer for the 2007 space history book In the Shadow of the Moon.

In 2008, NASA awarded Cunningham the NASA Distinguished Service Medal for his Apollo 7 mission.[1]

Currently he is a radio personality and public speaker.

In the 1998 miniseries From the Earth to the Moon Cunningham was played by Fredric Lehne.

Global warming views[edit]

Cunningham has been an advocate against the theory of anthropogenic global warming (AGW). In 2010, he published a pamphlet titled "Global Warming: Facts versus Faith" in which he states: "The current debate is not unlike Galileo's historic disagreement with the Catholic Church, or the battle over evolution versus creationism. In all three cases, facts are pitted against faith and science against religion. The conflict over global warming has deteriorated into a religious war between true believers in AGW and non-believers, the so-called "skeptics"."[2] This report was published by the Heartland Institute, a conservative think tank engaged in "dispelling myths about global warming". The Heartland Institute has, in its publications, made four points:

"Most scientists do not believe human activities threaten to disrupt the Earth's climate."[3] "The most reliable temperature data show no global warming trend."[17] "A modest amount of global warming, should it occur, would be beneficial to the natural world and to human civilization."[3] "The best strategy to pursue is one of 'no regrets'."[3]

In an editorial published in the Houston Chronicle on August 15, 2010, Cunningham argued that the empirical evidence does not support the claims of global warming. The editorial, titled "Climate change alarmists ignore scientific methods", stated his opinion that the global warming debate hinged on four key points. "About 20 years ago," he stated, "a small group of scientists became concerned that temperatures around the Earth were unreasonably high and a threat to humanity. In their infinite wisdom, they decided: 1) that CO2 (carbon dioxide) levels were abnormally high, 2) that higher levels of CO2 were bad for humanity, 3) that warmer temperatures would be worse for the world, and 4) that we are capable of overriding natural forces to control the Earth's temperature. Not one of these presumptions (opinions) has proven to be valid."[3]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ "First Apollo flight crew last to be honored". collectSPACE. Retrieved 2008-10-20. 
  2. ^ Cunningham, Walter (2010). Global Warming: Facts versus Faith: One Astronaut's Views. Chicago, Illinois: The Heartland Institute. p. 2. ISBN 978-1-934791-30-1. Retrieved April 3, 2012. 
  3. ^ Cunningham, Walter (August 15, 2010). "Climate change alarmists ignore scientific methods". Houston Chronicle. Retrieved April 3, 2012. 

3. ^ a b c d Heartland Institute's "Instant Expert Guide: Global Warming" retrieved 4 March 2008

References[edit]

Further reading[edit]

  • Cunningham, Walter (1977). The All-American Boys. MacMillan Publishing Company. ISBN 0-02-529240-4. 
  • French, Francis and Colin Burgess. (2007). In the Shadow of the Moon: A Challenging Journey to Tranquility. University of Nebraska Press. ISBN 978-0-8032-1128-5. 

External links[edit]