Apollo 8 was the second manned mission of the Apollo space program.
Commander Frank Borman, Command Module Pilot James Lovell and Lunar
Module Pilot William Anders became the first humans to travel beyond
Earth orbit and into an 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 only launched 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 twenty hours.
While in lunar orbit they made a Christmas Eve television broadcast
that is thought to be one of the most watched of all time.
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Today's selected anniversaries:
The American Revolutionary War began with the Battle of Lexington and
World War II: German troops entered the Warsaw Ghetto to round up
A gun turret exploded on board the USS Iowa, killing 47 sailors.
The Oklahoma City bombing, the largest domestic terrorist attack in
the history of the United States, killed 168 people.
Wikiquote of the day:
"Patience is a necessary ingredient of genius." -- Benjamin Disraeli