Apollo 8 (Spacecraft)Alternative names
Apollo 8 was the second manned mission of the Apollo space program, in which Commander Frank Borman, Command Module Pilot James Lovell, and Lunar Module Pilot William Anders became the first humans to leave Earth orbit and to orbit around the Moon. It was also the first manned launch of the Saturn V rocket.
NASA prepared for the mission in only four months. The hardware involved had only been used a few times¿the Saturn V had launched only twice before, and the Apollo spacecraft had only just finished its first manned mission, Apollo 7. However, the success of the mission paved the way for the successful completion of John F. Kennedy's goal of landing on the Moon before the end of the decade.
After launching on December 21, 1968, the crew took three days to travel to the Moon, which they orbited for 20 hours. While in lunar orbit they made a Christmas Eve television broadcast in which the crew read from the book of Genesis. It had been the most watched broadcast to date.
- Space vehicles
- space exploration