Jul 13

Space Rocket History #168 – Apollo 8 – Lunar Orbit and Earthrise

As Apollo 8 drifted above the far side of the moon Borman, Lovell, and Anders observed a scene of total desolation.  It appeared absent of color, except for various shades of gray.  There was no atmosphere to soften the view, it was a scene of extreme clarity.

Far side of the Moon as seen from Apollo 8

Far side of the Moon as seen from Apollo 8

Far side of the Moon from Apollo 8

Far side of the Moon from Apollo 8

Earthrise from Apollo 8

Earthrise from Apollo 8

Jul 06

Space Rocket History #167 – Apollo 8 – Coasting Up Hill and Waste Management

Just a few minutes after Apollo 8’s second TV broadcast, Borman, Lovell, and Anders passed Earth’s  gravitational hill top and crossed into the Moon’s gravitational sphere of influence.

Apollo 8 leaving the spent third stage

Apollo 8 leaving the spent third stage

Apollo 8 Translunar Coast leaving Earth

Apollo 8 Translunar Coast leaving Earth

Apollo 8 mission patch

Apollo 8 mission patch

Jun 22

Space Rocket History #166 – Apollo 8 – Translunar Injection

At T plus 40 seconds Apollo 8 went supersonic and the ride smoothed out. Now it was quite again, but Borman kept a watchful eye on the trajectory readouts. If there was a Saturn malfunction he could whisk the capsule away just by twisting the abort handle. This would trigger the escape rocket.

Apollo 8 Lunar Plan

Apollo 8 Lunar Plan

Apollo 8 Staging

Apollo 8 Staging

View from Apollo 8 in Earth orbit

View from Apollo 8 in Earth orbit

Jun 15

Space Rocket History #165 – Apollo 8 – The Launch

Until now the astronauts knew, in the back of their minds, there was a possibility that a malfunction would turn this countdown into just another practice run and they would have to get out and try again another day. But, as the count reached T minus 15 minutes, there was no doubt, they were really going.

Command Module Main Control Panel

Command Module Main Control Panel

Launch of Apollo 8 with Crescent Moon

Launch of Apollo 8 with Crescent Moon

Apollo 8 Clears the Tower

Apollo 8 Clears the Tower

Jun 08

Space Rocket History #164 – Apollo 8 – Pre-launch

For now the mighty Saturn V stood empty.  But overnight, even while Borman’s crew slept, technicians would ready it for departure.  By morning its enormous fuel thanks would be filled with cryogenic propellants, until the rocket would contain the explosive energy of an atomic bomb.

Lunar mission profile

Lunar mission profile

Apollo 8 crew on the way to the pad 39A

Apollo 8 crew on the way to the pad 39A

Aerial view of Apollo 8

Aerial view of Apollo 8

Jun 02

Space Rocket History #163 – Apollo 8 – Lovell, Logistics & Training

The successful Apollo 7 flight cleared the way for a US moon landing in 1969.  Still a lot of flight and ground testing remained and there would probably be surprises.  The greatest concern was Nasa had to complete three virtually flawless missions and achieve every major test objective before a lunar landing could be attempted. The odds seemed to be stack against NASA.

Apollo 8 Crew

Apollo 8 Crew

Jim Lovell (Shaky)

Jim Lovell (Shaky)

The Lovell family watch launch of Apollo 8

The Lovell family watch launch of Apollo 8

May 26

Space Rocket History #162 – Apollo 8 – The Crew – Frank Borman & William Anders

Frank Frederick Borman, II was born on March 14, 1928, in Gary, Indiana. He is of German descent, born as the first and only child to parents Edwin and Marjorie Borman. Because he suffered from numerous sinus problems in the cold and damp weather, his father packed up the family and moved to the better climate of Tucson, Arizona, which Borman considers his home town. He started to fly at the age of 15.

Frank Borman - Commander - Apollo 8

Frank Borman – Commander – Apollo 8

William Anders - Lunar Module Pilot - Apollo 8

William Anders – Lunar Module Pilot – Apollo 8

James Lovell - Command Module Pilot - Apollo 8

James Lovell – Command Module Pilot – Apollo 8

May 19

Space Rocket History #161 – Apollo 8 – The Decision Part 2

Perhaps the most significant point about the lunar-orbit flight proposed for Apollo 8 was that the command and service modules would fly the same route to the moon as would be used for the actual lunar landing.

General Samuel C. Phillips. Director of Apollo Manned Lunar Landing program

General Samuel C. Phillips. Director of Apollo Manned Lunar Landing program

Dr. Wernher von Braun. The Rocket Man.

Dr. Wernher von Braun. The Rocket Man.

George Mueller Assoc. Admin. for NASA Office of Manned Space Flight

George Mueller Assoc. Admin. for NASA Office of Manned Space Flight