Headline: “NASA’s Manned Apollo 8 Orbits the Moon 1968

The astronauts who were part of Apollo 8 were the first individuals to ever depart low Earth orbit following taking off on December 21, 1968. Apollo 8 was the first manned spaceship to go around the moon only a couple of days afterwards, on December 24 (Christmas Eve) (Abbey, 2019). The team and craft returned to Earth on December 27 after seeing something unlike anything humans had witnessed before. The astronauts recited passages from the biblical text of Genesis and sent back photographs of the moon and Earth while their control station floated over the moon’s surface. They also prayed for all those “on the good Earth” before concluding. The launch of this mission opened the door for more space discovery and put an end to what had been a very trying and volatile year for the U.S. and the rest of the globe.

The world saw a similar year in 1969, when the first human beings landed on the moon. NASA’s fifth crewed Apollo mission, Apollo 11, carried American astronauts to the Moon. Michael Collins, Edwin (“Buzz”) Aldrin, Jr., and Neil Armstrong were the astronauts who were in the spacecraft. On July 16, 1969, the orbiting observatory took off from Cape Kennedy (now Cape Canaveral), Florida (Abbey, 2019. The event’s launch was directly observed by a large number of people, while countless additional individuals watched it on television. Armstrong and Aldrin installed an instrument that monitored the sun’s wind’s chemical composition, an instrument that captured laser beams from observatories for astronomy on Earth to calculate the precise distance between the two bodies, and an active seismometer to monitor lunar quakes and meteor influences decades after the two astronauts had come back to Earth. All of these instruments were installed over their Moon walk.

Apollo became a NASA initiative that allowed American astronauts to go into space a total of 11 times and land on the moon. The technology utilized in the Apollo Program was tested on the first four flights (Abbey, 2019). The moon was reached by six of the remaining seven trips. 1968 saw the launch of the first Apollo mission.









Abbey, G. W. (2019). 50th Anniversary of Apollo 11: America’s Race to the Moon. Issue Brief6. http://www.bakerinstitute.org/issue-briefs

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