“Exploration is really the essence of the human spirit.” — Frank Borman
Frank Frederick Borman, II was born on this day in Gary, Indiana, USA in 1928. He is 85 years old.
The Bormans, Frank, his father Edwin, and mother, Marjorie moved to Tucson, Arizona when he was a kid . He began to take flying lessons at 15. After graduating from Tuscon High School He attended the United States Military Academy. He graduated in 1950 and joined the US Air Force.
He was “a fighter pilot, an operational pilot and instructor, an experimental test pilot and an assistant professor of Thermodynamics and Fluid Mechanics at West Point.” [NASA.gov] during his time in the USAF. Later he went to the California Institute of Technology and earned his MS in aeronautical engineering in 1957 before become a test pilot and instructor at the Aerospace Research Pilot School at Edwards Air Force Base.
The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) chose him to be a member of the “New Nine” group of astronauts in 1962. The New Nine (which included Neil Armstrong, Pete Conrad, Jim Lovell, James McDivitt, Elliott See, Tom Stafford, Ed White, and John Young as well as Borman) augmented the 7 Mercury Astronauts and assured that the space agency was staffed through the Gemini and Apollo missions (with the addition of NASA’s Astronaut Group 3) During his NASA days…
- Borman and Lovell performed the first rendezvous in of two spacecraft in orbit during their Gemini 7 flight. The 1965 flight set a 14 day long endurance record. (Borman was commander.)
- He served on the AS-204 Accident Review Board investigating the fire on Apollo 1 that killed Astronauts Gus Grissom, Ed White and Roger Chaffee.
- He led “the team that re-engineered the Apollo spacecraft” [NASA.gov] after the accident.
- “As commander of the Apollo-8 mission, he and his crew (James A. Lovell and William Anders) were launched into Earth’s orbit on December 21, 1968. They then became the first men to leave Earth’s gravity and journey to the moon. After 10 lunar orbits, they returned safely to the Earth.” [National Aviation Hall of Fame]
- He was President Nixon’s special ambassador when Apollo-11 landed on the Moon.
After Borman retired from NASA he…
“joined Eastern Airlines as vice president of operations and, after completing an advanced management course, became senior vice president of operations. In 1974 he was named executive vice president, general operations manager and a member of the board of directors. By 1976 he had risen to chairman, president and chief executive officer of Eastern. ” [Ibid]
In 1986 Borman retired from Eastern and moved to New Mexico with his wife Susan where he acts as a consultant.