Monday, December 22, 2008
Apollo 8, 40th Anniversary
Sunday marked the Forty-year anniversary of the historic launch of Apollo 8 around the moon mission. The first manned Saturn 5 mission launched from pad 39A at the Kennedy Space at 0751 AM on 21 Dec 1968. The crew, Frank Borman, Commander, James Lovell Command Module Pilot and William Anders Lunar Module pilot rode for three days in their command module towards their historic intercept with the moon. The insertion into lunar orbit occurred on Christmas Eve and the crew became the first humans to see the far side of the moon, later that evening the crew home broadcast was highlighted as they read passages from Genesis. One of the most famous NASA photo earthrise was taken during this mission. Apollo 8 proved the major hardware of the program was capable of getting a crew to the moon. Subsequent missions of Apollo 9 and 10 tested the Lunar module and paved the way for Apollo 11 historic landing in July of 1969.
I look back on those days when I was a young man and I can remember the excitement of a launch and all of the TV coverage. My friends and I knew whom all the astronauts were and were always talking about NASA. I still enjoy the shuttle lift offs but the magic is no longer there. Hopefully NASA can get back to were they were during the heydays of Apollo and can create that excitement in little kids again and inspire a new generation to reach for the stars.