Command Module, Apollo 8


Display Status:

This object is not on display at the National Air and Space Museum. It is either on loan or in storage.

Collection Item Summary:

Apollo 8 was launched on December 21, 1968, and was the first manned Saturn V launch. The crew was Commander Frank Borman, Command Module Pilot was James Lovell, and the Lunar Module Pilot (although there was no Lunar Module) was William Anders. The mission was the first manned mission beyond earth orbit and the first mission to the moon--and thus was of great historical importance. After 2 Earth orbits to check out spacecraft systems, the Saturn third stage boosted Apollo 8 (CSM 103) towards the moon. On December 24, Apollo 8 became the first manned spacecraft to orbit the moon. The spacecraft orbited the moon 10 times and then returned to Earth for a December 27 splashdown in the Pacific Ocean. The Apollo 8 mission was described as 99.9 percent perfect and it cleared the way for a manned lunar landing seven months later.

The Command Module was transferred to the Smithsonian in 1971. After brief display at two NASA centers it was placed on loan to the Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago for display.

Collection Item Long Description:

Data Source

National Air and Space Museum

Restrictions & Rights

Do not reproduce without permission from the Smithsonian Institution, National Air and Space Museum

Credit Line

Transferred from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration


  • Aluminum alloy, stainless steel, and titanium structures. Outer shell - stainless steel honeycomb between stainless steel sheets. Crew compartment inner shell - aluminum honeycomb between aluminum alloy sheets.
  • Epoxy-resin ablative heat shield covers outside.


  • Overall: 127 in. tall x 154 in. wide at base (322.6 x 391.2cm)
  • Other: 127in. (322.6cm)
  • Support (at base): 154in. (391.2cm)

Country of Origin

United States of America



Inventory Number