First Men to Orbit the Moon

The view of Earth rising over the lunar surface from Apollo 8

The view of Earth rising over the lunar surface from Apollo 8

December 23, 1968

Astronauts Frank Borman, James A. Lovell, and William Anders become the first men to orbit the Moon. Flying in Apollo 8, the men perform 10 total lunar orbits and test many of the procedures that will be used in future lunar missions. Additionally, the men were the first humans to travel beyond low Earth orbit, the first to see Earth as a whole planet, and the first to directly see the far side of the Moon. On Christmas Eve, the crew made a television broadcast from which they read the first 10 verses from the Book of Genesis.  It was the most watched television program ever at the time.

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