The Rolex Awards for Enterprise
Physicist, astronaut and company director, Walter Cunningham’s thirty years of diversified management experience accumulated in separate careers in government, the armed services and private industry have brought him a number of major successes.
Currently the founder of a private investment firm, the Capital Group, which specializes in investments in the United States for non-residents, Cunningham graduated in physics from the University of California, Los Angeles and from Harvard Business School. From 1951 to 1976 he served in the United States Marine Corps on active duty and in the reserve, acquiring 4,500 hours of pilot time, including 263 hours in space. He is now retired from the Marine Corps with the rank of Colonel. A physicist with the Rand Corporation from 1960 to 1963, he joined the National Aeronautics Space Administration as an astronaut in 1963.
At NASA, Mr Cunningham was pilot of the Apollo 7 mission, the first manned flight of the Apollo programme, spending eleven days in space. He played a key role in all aspects of manned flight in space, including training, planning, system design, testing, operational support, space flight, analysis of results, public relations and management.
ln 1968 he became chief of the Skylab Branch of the Astronaut Office until 1971. His responsibilities there included the development and coordination of dozens of scientifically and technologically advanced systems for their first application to manned space flight and, in some cases, their first application ever.
After his NASA career he went into business, where his financial interests have included high-technology engineering, architecture and investments. As a result of his extensive technical, scientific and management experience he has been awarded a number of national and international honours.
Published in 1984