Apollo 8: First Humans to Leave Earth Orbit
Image Credit: NASA
Published: December 21, 2017
Historical Date: December 21, 1968
The three crew members of Apollo 8 were the first humans to leave Earth orbit and the first to travel around the Moon.
The Dec. 21, 1968 launch of Apollo 8 (AS-503) from Cape Kennedy, Fla. was the beginning of a mission designed to test the Apollo system and gain the operational experience necessary to realize President Kennedy’s goal of “landing a man on the Moon and returning him safely to Earth.”
In this photo, Commander Colonel Frank Borman leads the way as he, Command Module Pilot Captain James A Lovell Jr., and Lunar Module Pilot Major William A. Anders head to the launch pad for humanity’s maiden voyage around the moon and its first aboard the Saturn V vehicle.