Payload Blog

Remembering Apollo Astronaut Frank Borman

"Exploration is really the essence of the human spirit."

Apollo astronaut, Frank Borman, passed away at the age of 95 on November 7, 2023. He was born in Gary, Indiana and raised in Tucson, Arizona. Borman was selected to be in NASA’s second astronaut group in 1962. He is one of the early space pioneers who bravely walked into the unknown and paved the way for human spaceflight today. 

Best known for being the Apollo 8 Commander, Borman was one of the first three astronauts to orbit the Moon. In 1978, he was presented with the Congressional Space Medal of Honor by President Jimmy Carter for his missions.

His love for flight began at an early age, and he earned his Bachelor of Science from the United States Military Academy at West Point in 1950. Soon after, he joined the United States Air Force and became a fighter pilot. He later earned his Master’s degree in Aeronautical Engineering.

Astronaut Frank Borman suiting up for the Apollo 8 mission.

Frank’s first spaceflight was as Commander on Gemini 7 in 1965. As a long-endurance flight, they set the record of 14 days in space and performed the first space rendezvous with Gemini 6A. Three years after, Frank flew on the first crewed launch of the Saturn V rocket, Apollo 8. The crew completed 10 orbits of the Moon and spent Christmas in space. On Christmas Eve, Frank famously read from the book of Genesis in a live broadcast from lunar orbit ending with, "And from the crew of Apollo 8, we close with good night, good luck, a Merry Christmas, and God bless all of you—all of you on the good Earth."

Frank Borman at the microphone with his Apollo 8 crew mates after splash down.

After retiring from the U.S. Air Force and NASA in 1970, Frank became Senior Vice President-Operations Group at Eastern Air Lines, where he worked until officially retiring in 1986. Frank is survived by his wife, Susan, two sons, Fred and Edwin, and four grandchildren.

A wreath has been placed in his honor inside the rotunda of Heroes & Legends featuring the U.S. Astronaut Hall of Fame®. There, you can learn more about Borman’s missions and his contributions to space exploration.


Gemini VII
Apollo 8