Remembering Apollo 8 Commander Frank Borman

The San Diego Air & Space Museum is remembering internationally known Apollo 8 Commander Frank Borman, whose distinguished aviation career as a fighter pilot, test pilot, instructor and NASA astronaut earned him an honored spot the prestigious International Air & Space Hall of Fame. Borman passed away on November 7, 2023, at the age of 95.

Since 1963, the International Air & Space Hall of Fame has honored the world’s most significant pilots, crew members, visionaries, inventors, aerospace engineers, business leaders, preservationists, designers and space explorers. Borman entered the International Air & Space Hall of Fame at the San Diego Air & Space Museum in 1990.

“True American heroes like Frank Borman have always been in short supply, and he was truly one of the most revered and respected by his peers and anyone who knew him,” said Jim Kidrick, President & CEO of the San Diego Air & Space Museum. “The incredible risks and daring exploits Frank and his crewmates Bill Anders and Jim Lovell displayed during the historic Apollo 8 first mission to the Moon in December 1968 truly embodied the spirt of aviation and space exploration. Their extraordinary exploits earned them all a rightful and honored place in the prestigious International Air & Space Hall of Fame. The San Diego Air & Space Museum mourns Frank’s loss while remembering him fondly for his incredible achievements and contributions to aviation and space exploration.”

The Crew of Apollo 8. From Left: Jim Lovell, Bill Anders and Frank Borman. All three are in the prestigious International Air & Space Hall of Fame.

With a passion for flying, Frank Borman learned to fly at age 15. After graduating from the U.S. Military Academy in 1950, he was commissioned in the U.S. Air Force, serving with the 44th Fighter Bomber Squadron in the Philippines between 1951 and 1956. He subsequently taught at the Air Force Fighter Weapons School. After earning his master’s degree in aeronautical engineering at California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, Borman taught at West Point and at the Air Force Aerospace Research Pilots School.

In 1962, he was chosen by NASA to be a member of the second group of astronauts, known affectionately as the “New Nine.” During Gemini 7 in 1965, Borman and Lovell made the first space rendezvous with Gemini 6.

Borman served as member of the Apollo 1 Fire Investigation Board, investigating the causes of the fire which killed three astronauts aboard an Apollo spacecraft in January 1967.

On December 21, 1968, during Apollo 8, Borman, Anders and Lovell became the first men to leave Earth’s gravity and orbit the Moon, giving mankind it first close-up view of the lunar surface and of the Moon’s far side. Apollo 8 also was the first successful manned flight of the massive Saturn V rocket.

After the Apollo 8 flight, Borman became deputy director of flight-crew operations for NASA. Borman’s retirement from the Air Force in 1970 did not end his aviation career. He became a special advisor to Eastern Airlines in early 1969 and in December 1970 was named Sr. Vice President-Operations Group. He was named Chief Executive Officer in December 1975 and became Chairman of the Board in December 1976.

Frank Borman was inducted into the prestigious International Air & Space Hall of Fame at the San Diego Air & Space Museum in 1990. Borman’s fellow Apollo 8 crewmembers, Bill Anders and Jim Lovell, also were inducted into the International Air & Space Hall of Fame in 1990.

The International Air & Space Hall of Fame is the most prestigious induction of its kind in the world and is composed of hundreds of air and space pioneers, engineers, inventors and innovators, along with adventurers, scientists and industry leaders. NASA Mercury, Gemini and Apollo astronauts and Russian cosmonauts are honored in the Hall, as well as famous legends such as the Wright Brothers, Charles Lindbergh, Neil Armstrong and Amelia Earhart. Notable inductees also include Buzz Aldrin, Igor Sikorsky, Wernher von Braun, Jack Northrop, Jackie Cochran, William Boeing, Sr., Reuben H. Fleet, Glenn Curtiss, Walter Zable Sr., Fran Bera, Wally Schirra, Bill Anders, Jim Lovell, T. Claude Ryan, Jimmy Doolittle, Bob Hoover, Ellen Ochoa, Peggy Whitson, Linden Blue, Patty Wagstaff, and many more.

For more information, see the following link:

San Diego Air & Space Museum

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