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APOLLO 8 ( AS-503 )

Apollo 8 insignia

Apollo 8 prime crew

Frank Borman, Jr(CDP), William A. Anders(LMP), James A. Lovell Jr.(CMP) (Left to right)

Mission Status

Launch date 21. Dec. 1968 12:51:00 UTC(07:51:00 EST)
Mission Designation AS-503 / SA-503
Launch Pad PAD 39A
LM LMTA(Lunar Module Test Article)
Launch vehcle
Type Saturn V
First Stage S-IC-3
Second Stage S-II-3
Third stage S-IVB-503N
Instrument Unit(IU) S-IU-503
Prime crew
Commander Pilot:CDP Frank Borman
CM Pilot:CMP James A. Lovell Jr.
LM Pilot:LMP William A. Anders
Backup crew
Commander Pilot:CDP Neil A. Armstrong
CM Pilot:CMP Edwin E. Aldrin Jr.
LM Pilot:LMP Fred W. Haise, Jr.
Mission Objective
Demonstrate crew/space vehicle/mission support facilities during manned Saturn V/CSM mission. Demonstrate translunar injection, CSM navigation, communications, and midcourse corrections. Assess CSM consumables and passive thermal control. Demonstrate CSM performance in cislunar and lunar orbit environment. Demonstrate communications and tracking at lunar distances. Return high-resolution photographs of proposed Apollo landing sites and locations of scientific interest.
Mission Result
This spacecraft was the first of the Apollo series to successfully orbit the moon, and the first manned spacecraft to leave Earth's gravity and reach the Moon. The mission achieved operational experience and tested the Apollo command module systems, including communications, tracking, and life-support, in cis-lunar space and lunar orbit, and allowed evaluation of crew performance on a lunar orbiting mission. The crew photographed the lunar surface, both farside and nearside, obtaining information on topography and landmarks as well as other scientific information necessary for future Apollo landings. Additionally, six live television transmission sessions were done by the crew during the mission, including the famous Christmas Eve broadcast in which the astronauts read from the book of Genesis. All systems operated within allowable parameters and all objectives of the mission were achieved. The flight carried a three man crew: Commander Frank Borman, Command Module Pilot James A. Lovell, Jr., and Lunar Module Pilot William A. Anders.
Launch weight2,782,326(kg)
Lunar orbits10
Duration147:00:42(6days 3hours)
Splashed down27.Dec.1968 05:51:42 UTC(10:51:42 EST)
Splashdown pointPacific Ocean:8deg 7.5min N, 165deg 1.2min W:1,000 miles SSW of Hawaii
Recovery shipU.S.S Yorktown

CSM-103 Apollo8

Mission Photos

Apollo 8: A Story of Christmas Around the Moon
Watch on YouTube
Apollo 8: Around The Moon and Back
Watch on YouTube
Earthrise: The 45th Anniversary
Watch on YouTube
  • [DVD] Apollo 8 - Leaving the Cradle

    Spacecraft Films / Twentieth Century Fox Home Video August 19, 2003 USD31.48

    Own a piece of history! The most complete record ever available of this historic mission. This 3-disc set - over 4 hours in all - chronicles America's first manned lunar orbit from launch to splashdown with comprehensive footage from the film and videotape records of Apollo 8. Features the TV downlink including the famous Christmas Eve broadcast, all on-board 16mm films, close-up views of the moon from lunar orbit, multi-angle views of the launch and astronaut commentaries.


  • [BOOK] Apollo 8 : The NASA Mission Reports

    Apogee Books August, 2000 USD12.89

    Apollo 8: The NASA Mission Reports finally puts in one place six of the most important documents from this triumphant odyssey, The Press Kit, The Pre-mission Report & Objectives, The Supplemental Technical Report, The Post Flight Summary, the Post Flight Mission Operation Report and the Crew Debriefing. These six documents show the staggering proportions of the undertaking required to send men into lunar orbit. It is a testament to the ingenuity of the American people and the bold courage of three men. Includes: CD-ROM with Captain Lovell Interview, plus hundreds of pictures!