Topics: Space Exploration - The Apollo 8 The Apollo 8

Apollo 8 Flight Summary

December 21-27, 1968

Spacecraft: Saturn V (AS-503, CSM-103)

Command Module: CM-103 mass 28,817 kg

Service Module: SM-103

Lunar Module: Lunar Test Article (LTA-B) mass 9,026 kg

Booster: Saturn V SA-503

Launch pad LC 39A, Kennedy Space Center, Florida, USA

Launch date 12:51:00, 21 December 1968 (UTC) (1968-12-21T12:51:00Z)

Landing 15:51:42, 27 December 1968 (UTC) (1968-12-27T15:51:42Z)

8°6′N 165°1′W / 8.1°N 165.017°W / 8.1; -165.017 (Apollo 8 landing)

Number of lunar orbits 10

Total CSM time in lunar orbit 20 h 10 m 13 s

Mission duration 6d 03h 00m

Crew: Frank Borman (commander), James A. Lovell Jr. (CM pilot), William A. Anders (LM pilot)

In lunar orbit 20 hours, with 10 orbits. First manned lunar orbital mission. Support facilities tested. Photographs taken of Earth and Moon. Live TV broadcasts.

The Apollo 8 astronauts were the first human beings to venture beyond low-Earth orbit and visit another world. What was originally to have been an Earth-orbit checkout of the lunar lander became instead a race with the Soviets to become the first nation to orbit the Moon. The Apollo 8 crew rode inside the Command Module, with no lunar lander attached. They were the first astronauts to be launched by the Saturn V, which had flown only twice before. The booster worked perfectly, as did the SPS engines that had been checked out on Apollo 7. Apollo 8 entered lunar orbit on the morning of December 24, 1968. For the next 20 hours, the astronauts circled the Moon, which appeared out their windows as a gray, battered wasteland. They took photographs, scouted future landing sites, and on Christmas Eve read from the Book of Genesis to TV viewers back on Earth. They also photographed the first Earthrise as seen from the Moon. Apollo 8 proved the ability to navigate to and from the Moon, and gave a tremendous boost to the entire Apollo program. The Apollo 8
Mission insignia