50th Anniversary of the Apollo 8 Moon Mission

This December 21 is the 50th anniversary of the launch of Apollo 8, the first manned space flight that left low Earth orbit, reaching the moon three days later.

Halfway to the Moon, on Sunday, Dec. 22, 1968, the Apollo 8 crew glimpsed Earth outside their windows from a never-before-seen vantage point, slowly decreasing in size as they cut away through the deep black. “It’s a beautiful, beautiful view,” Frank Borman said to Mission Control as the spacecraft sped onward toward its destination.

This December 21 is the 50th anniversary of the launch of Apollo 8, the first manned space flight that left low Earth orbit, reaching the moon three days later.

The Apollo 8 mission changed our lives and the world forever.

 Sending three men to circle the Moon in a fragile capsule involved more than technology. It involved courage. It involved passion, and it involved curiosity. It involved a human trait: to Explore the stars.

Eventually, the Apollo 8 mission, an unprecedented scientific and engineering feet allowed three astronauts to orbit the moon, and see the world like no one before.

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That trip to the moon also produced one of the most famous photographs ever taken: Earthrise.

Earthrise, taken from Apollo 8 by astronaut William Anders on December 24, 1968. Image Credit: NASA.
Earthrise, taken from Apollo 8 by astronaut William Anders on December 24, 1968. Image Credit: NASA.

Astronauts Frank Borman, Jim Lovell, and Bill Anders, became the first humans to leave low Earth orbit as they lifted off from Cape Kennedy on December 21, 1968.

Apollo 8 took almost three days to reach the Moon.

The Astronauts orbited the moon ten times throughout 20 hours.

The Apollo 8 Saturn V being rolled out to Pad 39A. Image Credit: NASA.
The Apollo 8 Saturn V being rolled out to Pad 39A. Image Credit: NASA.

During this time they made a Christmas Eve television broadcast in which they read the first ten verses from the Book of Genesis.

This transmission was the most seen of the history until then.

The three astronauts also photographed, for the first time ever, the far side of the moon.

Photo taken from Apollo 8 during the 1968 mission on their first approach to the Moon. Credits: NASA.
Photo taken from Apollo 8 during the 1968 mission on their first approach to the Moon. Image Credit: NASA.

The fact that the Apollo 8 mission was a success paved the way for Apollo 11 to fulfill, a few months later, President John F. Kennedy’s desire to take mankind to the Moon before the end of the 60s.

On December 27, 1968 the astronauts returned safely to Earth.

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