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Photo Caption: Walt Cunningham in Apollo 7 training, courtesy of NASA

Walt CunninghamApollo Astronaut to Present at RMC Aviation Hangar

BILLINGS, March 11, 2014 – Retired astronaut and aviation legend Walt Cunningham will visit with the public at the RMC Aviation Hangar Friday, April 4, at 6:00 p.m. Cunningham was one of the first Americans who traveled in outer space and was a pop culture hero during the 1960s Apollo spaceflights.

Cunningham’s address will include perspective on STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) education trends, the desired future of human space flight, and opportunity versus outcomes. RMC hosts his speech with hors d’oeurves, refreshments, and tours of the RMC Aviation Hangar. Cunningham will also meet with RMC aviation students Friday morning.

Walter Cunningham was born in 1932 and earned his B.A. and M.A. in physics from UCLA. He was NASA's third civilian astronaut and has been a fighter pilot, physicist, entrepreneur, venture capitalist, author of The All-American Boys, and lecturer.

In 1968, Cunningham flew 4½ million miles in 11 days on the crew of Apollo 7, the first manned Apollo spaceflight, first three-person American space mission, first live television broadcast from space, and first spaceflight of the giant Saturn 1B rocket. He was chief of the Skylab branch at Johnson Space Center that oversaw the first American space station and has more than 3,400 hours of flying time in jet aircraft and 263 hours in space. He graduated from an advanced management program at Harvard Business School in 1974 and retired from the Marine Corps reserves in 1975 as a colonel. 

John Jurist, who hosts Cunningham in Billings, is adjunct professor of biophysics and aviation at RMC, where he served as co-chairman of the RMC National Advisory Council. He earned his doctorate in biophysics at the UCLA School of Medicine and held joint faculty appointments at the Space Science and Engineering Center and the Division of Orthopedic Surgery at the University of Wisconsin. Jurist has worked for decades in support of the RMC aviation program.

The RMC Aviation Hangar is located at 1801 Aviation Place, Billings, MT 59105. The parking lot has access from lanes connecting the airport’s Terminal Circle with East Airport Road.