16.2.9 Apollo 8 (AS-503)

Figure 16.2.9-1. The Earth photographed from the Moon during Apollo 8. Photo AS8-14-2383.

Crew: Frank Borman (CDR), William Anders (LMP), James Lovell (CMP).

Launch vehicle: Saturn V.

LM: present as a test article. Weight on Earth: 9,026 kg (19,900 lb).

Lunar orbit: yes (10 orbits).

CM and LM call signs: not assigned (CM and LM present).

Launch and return dates: December 21-27, 1968.

Lunar landing date and time: none.

Lunar landing site: none.

Number of moonwalks: none planned.

Mission duration: 6 days 3 hours 0 minutes.

Time spent on the Moon: none planned.

Number of photographs taken: 1,100. Live TV broadcasts were made and movie footage was shot.

Quantity of Moon rocks: none planned.

Rover: none.

Notes: Apollo 8 was truly groundbreaking: the first crewed flight of a Saturn V, the first crewed mission to fly significantly far from the Earth and the first crewed flight around the Moon. The mission gave mankind the first photographs of the entire Earth taken by astronauts and the first live TV transmission of a crew from lunar orbit. Borman, Lovell and Anders were the first human beings to see the far side of the Moon with their own eyes.

This flight tested successfully the long-range communication and navigation equipment and methods needed for a mission to the Moon. The astronauts, however, were affected by headaches, vomiting and diarrhea in addition to sleeping problems, worsened by staggered sleep shifts and an excessive workload.

As the crew orbited the Moon, they read the first verses of the Book of Genesis live on TV, setting the record for the most watched broadcast in history (approximately 1 billion people in 64 countries).