Apollo 8 Audio Recording

The Apollo program began as part of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) ten-year plan from 1959, which planned for lunar exploration some time in the 1970s. Following President Kennedy's speech of 25 May 1961, which called for a lunar landing by the end of 1969, NASA accelerated its development scheme accordingly. Apollo 8 (21 Dec - 27 Dec 1968) was the second manned flight of the program, the first manned flight of the Saturn V booster, and the first manned mission to orbit the moon. The main mission objectives were to "demonstrate crew-vehicle-support facilities performance during a manned Saturn V mission with [Command Service Module]" and to "demonstrate performance of nominal and selected backup lunar orbit rendezvous mission activities." The three-man crew, Frank Borman (commander), James A. Lovell (command module pilot), and William A. Anders (lunar module pilot) accomplished all these objectives and returned safely to Earth.