Apollo 8 - First to the Moon!

The crew of Apollo 8 - The Apollo 8 crew, Borman, Lovell and Anders.
December 21, 2008 12:31pm CST
Todyay (21st December) is the launch of Apollo 8, the first manned spacecraft to reach the Moon. The crew were Frank Borman, James A Lovell Jr and Willam A Anders. Apollo 8's mission was originally meant to be the first manned test flight of both the Lunar Module and the Command and Service Module (CSM) in Earth orbit, and would have included practicing rendezvous and docking and EVA procedures. As it turned out, the LM wasn't ready to fly yet, and the CIA had received intelligence that the soviets may be about to launch a manned Zond spacecraft around the Moon and back (neither side being ready for a landing at that point). So a decision was made to pre-empt this by launching a CSM to the Moon and back. Not only did this effectively win the Moon Race for the Americans, but it also provided the opportunity for a photo reconnaissance of future Apollo landing sites. This was the first manned launch of the Saturn V - a previous unmanned test launch of the vehicle was less than 100% successful, so the mission wasn't without risks. But in those days people seemed to have been a bit more willing to take risks if they thought is was worthwhile, and this mission did end up being a complete success. The Apollo 8 crew became the first men to see the far side of the Moon with their own eyes, and the mission was a vital stepping stone towards the lunar landings that started the following year. Brave men, to spend several days locked up in a tiny capsule, surrounded by vacuum, and to travel further than anyone else had ever gone before, with no guarantee of a safe return.
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@gewcew23 (8011)
• United States
30 Dec 08
Wow I cannot believe anyone responded to this discussion. I am sorry but I was away from the computer when you wrote this excellent piece. I am a space nerd, though not the smartest when it comes to everything about the subject. Well I am glad to write something that is not about how the Moon landing is fake and produced in a Hollywood set. I do not know if over in Great Britain too many speak about the controversies over the Moon landing, but I saw a poll a couple of months ago that said 27% of all American believe the moon landing was fake and produced on a set. Now I know we are suppose to question our government but some need to learn to pick their battles. Well I have waisted to much of your time some maybe I should speak about what you have spoken about. So at 12:51 December the 21st 1968 three brave men stepped into the history book and no one here in America celebrated it. I never heard about the anniversary on the news, yet it is still a huge thing. Not only did man leave Earth, but the free world beat the Soviet's to the Moon's orbit. True some will say it is not as big as Apollo 11 but with out Apollo 8 orbiting the moon and then returning safely no one would have wanted to attempt the landing.