Smithsonian Air and Space Museum

Apollo 8

Facts

Lunar Module: None flown, Lunar Test Article ballast

Command and Service Module: Apollo 8

Crew: Frank Borman, commander
James A. Lovell, command module pilot
William A. Anders, lunar module pilot

Launch: December 21, 1968
12:51:00 UT (7:51:00 a.m. EST)
Kennedy Space Center Launch Complex 39A

Lunar Orbit: December 24, 1968
(Total of 10 lunar orbits)

Returned to Earth: December 27, 1968
splashdown 15:51:42 UT (10:51:42 a.m. EST)

Mission Duration: 146 hours 59 minutes 49 seconds

Retrieval site: Pacific Ocean 8° 7.5' N, 165° 1.2' W

Retrieval ship: U.S.S. Yorktown

Special Payload: A lunar module was not carried but a Lunar Test Article which is equivalent in weight to a lunar module was carried as ballast.

Highlights/Notes:
  • The mission was the second flight in the Apollo program and the first manned flight on the Saturn V rocket. Saturn V launch vehicle with the Apollo spacecraft on top stood 363 feet (110 meters) tall.
  • Launched from Complex 39A at Kennedy Space Center and marked the first manned use of the Moonport.
  • The five first-stage engines developed combined thrust of 7.5 million pounds at liftoff.
  • First humans to journey to the Earth's Moon.
  • First pictures of Earth from deep space taken by astronauts.
  • New world speed record: 24,200 mph (38,938 km/hr).
  • First live TV coverage of the lunar surface.

Apollo 8 Liftoff

Far side of the Moon