Image: Cronkite
Steven Senne  /  AP file
Newsman Walter Cronkite is the first non-astronaut to receive an Ambassador of Exploration Award, which includes the gift of a moon rock. As a condition of the award, the rock must be displayed at an institution — in Cronkite's case, the Center for American History.
updated 2/28/2006 8:47:29 PM ET 2006-03-01T01:47:29

Veteran newsman Walter Cronkite was honored Tuesday with a moon rock from NASA in recognition of his decades covering the space program.

Cronkite, who anchored "The CBS Evening News" from 1962 until his retirement in 1981, is the first non-astronaut and only non-NASA individual to receive the Ambassador of Exploration Award.

Cronkite covered the Mercury, Gemini and Apollo missions, including Apollo 11 and subsequent moon landings. His marathon, live coverage on July 20, 1969, of the first moon landing brought the event into the homes of millions of Americans and observers around the world.

In addition to Cronkite, 38 others around the nation were being presented the award.

The moon rock is part of 842 pounds (383 kilograms) of samples brought back to Earth during the six Apollo lunar expeditions from 1969 to 1972.

Cronkite will present his lunar sample to William Powers Jr., president of the University of Texas at Austin. Powers will accept on behalf of the Center for American History, which houses the Walter Cronkite papers. The sample will be displayed in the center’s exhibit gallery.

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