26 Facts About Apollo 8


Apollo 8 was the first crewed spacecraft to leave low Earth orbit and the first human spaceflight to reach the Moon.

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Apollo 88 was the third flight and the first crewed launch of the Saturn V rocket, and was the first human spaceflight from the Kennedy Space Center, located adjacent to Cape Kennedy Air Force Station in Florida.

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Apollo 8 was determined that the United States should compete, and sought a challenge that maximized its chances of winning.

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Backup crew assignment of Neil Armstrong as Commander, Lovell as CMP, and Buzz Aldrin as LMP for the third crewed Apollo 8 flight was officially announced at the same time as the prime crew.

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Apollo 85 was a "B" mission, a test of the LM in Earth orbit.

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Apollo 87, scheduled for October 1968, would be a "C" mission, a crewed Earth-orbit flight of the CSM.

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Apollo 88 was planned as the "D" mission, a test of the LM in a low Earth orbit in December 1968 by James McDivitt, David Scott, and Russell Schweickart, while Borman's crew would fly the "E" mission, a more rigorous LM test in an elliptical medium Earth orbit as Apollo 89, in early 1969.

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Apollo 88 was officially changed from a "D" mission to a "C-Prime" lunar-orbit mission.

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Saturn V rocket used by Apollo 88 was designated AS-503, or the "03rd" model of the SaturnV Rocket to be used in the Apollo 8-Saturn program.

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Apollo 88 was launched into an initial orbit with an apogee of 99.

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Standard lunar orbit for Apollo 8 missions was planned as a nominal 60-nautical-mile circular orbit above the Moon's surface.

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The S-IVB, with the test article attached, posed no further hazard to Apollo 88, passing the orbit of the Moon and going into a 0.

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Apollo 8 vomited twice and had a bout of diarrhea; this left the spacecraft full of small globules of vomit and feces, which the crew cleaned up as well as they could.

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Apollo 8 made a second television broadcast at 55 hours into the flight.

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At about 55 hours and 40 minutes into the flight, and 13 hours before entering lunar orbit, the crew of Apollo 88 became the first humans to enter the gravitational sphere of influence of another celestial body.

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The launch time of Apollo 88 had been chosen to give the best lighting conditions for examining the site.

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Apollo 8 wanted to make sure that the engine was working and could be used to return early to the Earth if necessary.

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Apollo 8 had been scheduled to participate in a service at St Christopher's Episcopal Church near Seabrook, Texas, but due to the Apollo8 flight, he was unable to attend.

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Apollo 8 ordered Anders and Lovell to get some sleep and that the rest of the flight plan regarding observing the Moon be scrubbed.

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Apollo 8's message appeared to sum up the feelings that all three crewmen had from their vantage point in lunar orbit.

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Apollo 8 accidentally erased some of the computer's memory, which caused the inertial measurement unit to contain data indicating that the module was in the same relative orientation it had been in before lift-off; the IMU then fired the thrusters to "correct" the module's attitude.

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Apollo 8 came at the end of 1968, a year that had seen much upheaval in the United States and most of the world.

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The various television transmissions and 16 mm footage shot by the crew of Apollo 88 were compiled and released by NASA in the 1969 documentary Debrief: Apollo 88, hosted by Burgess Meredith.

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Apollo 8's Daring Mission aired on PBS' Nova in December 2018, marking the flight's 50th anniversary.

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Apollo 8 serves as character development in the 1995 film Apollo 13, in which Jim Lovell is motivated to walk on the Moon by his Apollo 8 experience and later disappointed to be so near the surface twice without walking on it.

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The S-IVB stage of Apollo 88 was portrayed as the location of an alien device in the 1970 UFO episode "Conflict".

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