The Story     

Apollo VIII

The missions 

The Space Suit

Apollo 8 Media

For Teachers

Activities Guide

Image Gallery

For Children


Fact or Fantasy

Jigsaw Puzzles


Curriculum Links

Other Links



Apollo VIII

Launched: December 21, 1968
Splashed Down: December 27, 1968

AS08_crew.gif (84375 bytes)Crew:

Frank Borman             (left)            Commander
James A. Lovell, Jr.    (centre)        Command Module Pilot
William A. Anders       (right)           Lunar Module Pilot


apollo8.jpg (30255 bytes)Apollo 8 was launched from Cape Kennedy, at 7:50 a.m., EST, on December 21, 1968. Two hours 50 minutes later, Apollo 8 left Earth orbit; and astronauts Col. Frank Borman, the commander; Capt. James A. Lovell, Jr., the command module pilot; and Major William A. Anders, the lunar module pilot, were on their way to the Moon.

Moon.jpg (39231 bytes)The Spacecraft was placed in an elliptical (oval) lunar orbit at 69 hours 8 minutes after liftoff. After flying two elliptical orbits of 168.5 by 60 nautical miles with an inclination of 12 degrees to the Equator, the spacecraft was placed in a nearly circular orbit of 59.7 by 60.7 nautical miles in which it remained for eight orbits. Images of the lunar surface were transmitted for live television broadcast on Earth.

(televised image of lunar surface pictured above.)

At 89 hours 19 minutes, Apollo 8 began it's long journey back to the Earth. A nearly flawless mission was completed on the morning of December 27 when splashdown occurred in the Pacific Ocean after a total elapsed time of 147 hours. 

(Command Module recovery pictured below right)

splashdown.jpg (59615 bytes)The primary purpose of this mission was to further progress toward the goal of landing men on the Moon by gaining operational experience and testing the Apollo system. However, a great effort was also made to accomplish worthwhile scientific tasks with photography and visual information by the astronauts.

From NASA SP-201, Analysis of Apollo 8 photography and visual observations.

Mission Facts ] [ Apollo VIII ] The Space Suit ] Apollo 8 - Media ]