Portrait of astronaut Donn F. Eisele

Donn Eisele

Command Module Pilot

Astronaut Donn Eisele was born in Columbus, Ohio, on June 23rd, 1930. He earned a Master of Science degree in Astronautics in 1960 from the Air Force Institute of Technology and later became a project engineer and experimental test pilot at the Air Force Special Weapons Center at Kirtland Air Force Base, New Mexico.

Eisele was one of the third group of astronauts selected by NASA in October 1963. In 1968, he was the command module pilot for the eleven-day flight of Apollo 7 with spacecraft commander Walter M. Schirra, Jr., and lunar module pilot Walter Cunningham. The mission completed eight successful tests and maneuvering ignitions of the service module propulsion engine, measured the accuracy of performance of all spacecraft systems, and provided the first effective television transmission of on-board crew activities. Eisele also served as a backup command module pilot for the Apollo-10 flight. In July 1972, Colonel Eisele retired from both the Air Force and NASA to become Director of the U.S. Peace Corps in Thailand.