Fifty years ago on Dec. 21, 1968, Apollo 8 launched from Pad A, Launch Complex 39, Kennedy Space Center at 7:51 a.m. EST. Frank Borman commanded the crew of the Apollo 8 lunar orbit mission; James Lovell served as command module pilot; and William Anders was the lunar module pilot. Apollo 8 was the first crewed Saturn V launch.
Apollo 8 was supposed to be a test flight to simulate atmospheric re-entry from the Moon but never meant to go there. But then the Soviet Union successfully launched two successful uncrewed lunar missions—Zond 5 and 6—and NASA’s plans changed. The rest, as they say, is history.
Learn more about the history of the Apollo 8 mission.
Image Credit: NASA