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Apollo 8 official mission patch

Apollo 8

Occurred 56 years ago

"Round the moon and back…"

Mission Type

Lunar Landing Preparation


Frank Borman, James Lovell Jr., William Anders


Dec. 21, 1968


Dec. 27, 1968
The famous Earthrise photograph from Apollo 8
The famous Earthrise photograph from Apollo 8
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NASA's Big Plans to Explore Asteroids

“‘Round the moon and back…”

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Frank Borman


Frank Borman was selected as a NASA Astronaut in the second group in 1962. He was a veteran of the Gemini 7 space orbital rendezvous mission with Gemini 6 before being named as the commander of Apollo 8, the first lunar orbital mission, in 1968.

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Portrait of astronaut Frank Borman with model shuttle
Portrait of astronaut Frank Borman.
On December 21, 1968, three NASA astronauts embarked on a journey that would take them “Round the moon and back.” The Apollo 8 mission proved the performance of the command and service module and was the first crewed launch of the Saturn V rocket. On Christmas Eve, Frank Borman, Jim Lovell, and Bill Anders were the first humans to orbit the Moon and the first to see an Earthrise above its surface.

More About Apollo 8

Read more about the Apollo 8 mission and its crew.

An Apollo 8 Christmas Dinner Surprise: Turkey and Gravy Make Space History
6 min read

On Christmas Day in 1968, the three-man Apollo 8 crew of Frank Borman, Jim Lovell, and Bill Anders found a…

Apollo 8: Christmas at the Moon
4 min read

Christmas Eve, 1968. As one of the most turbulent, tragic years in American history drew to a close, millions around…

Dec. 27, 1968: Apollo 8 Returns from the Moon
6 min read

It was Christmas Day 1968, and after spending 20 hours orbiting the Moon, the Apollo 8 crew of Frank Borman,…

50 Years Ago: Apollo 8 in Lunar Orbit
4 min read

Precisely on time on Dec. 24, 1968, Mission Control lost contact with Apollo 8 and its crew of Frank Borman,…

Part 5: Apollo 8 and Beyond – The Next Epoch
6 min read

Part 4: The ReturnPart 3: The Far SidePart 2: In the Beginning There Was LiftoffPart 1: To the Moon and…

50 Years Ago: Apollo 8, You are Go for TLI!
7 min read

In the early morning of Dec. 21, 1968, at Kennedy Space Center’s (KSC) Launch Pad 39A, the five engines of…

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