tv Washington Journal Apollo 8 - First Manned Lunar Orbit CSPAN December 24, 2018 8:00pm-9:02pm EST
inspire. i think there's a lot of good stories there. staff recently traveled to lawrence candace to learn about its rich history. learn more about lawrence and other stops at www.c-span.org/ city store. cities tour. you are watching c-span three. >> the astronauts who made man's first journey to the noon -- of the moon. is a look back to 1968 and it elicited a global audience washing-- watching it on television. >> okay houston. the moon is essentially gray. no color. sort of a grayish peach. >> the date of the mission is
dictated by windows that open and close in a long cycle. if you miss when you wait. the december window open the 21st and closed the 27th so the day of the apollo 8 mission was determined when the celestial clock was set in motion. timed out to the christmas season. bob hope reported a vietnam reaction. >> all joy, believe me. all joy. the man that i spent christmas with have their-- a lot on their mind but the trenton trip turned out to be important as anything. what they did rubbed off on a lot of guys. everyone grew a little taller and i think it will be months before we know how much it meant to all of us and all of the people of the world. it was christmas on earth and on the moon.
inspiring and makes you realize what you have back there on earth. >> from the museum of science and industry in chicago, joining us from chicago is robert kurson , author of the book rocket man. thanks for being here. i want to talk about the book but let's talk about this mission which took place 50 years ago this week. how significant was it? >> i think it was one of the most significant moments in human history to tell you the truth. it represented the first time that human beings ever left home and the first time we ever arrived in a new world on our most ancient companion, the moon. it truly was a space odyssey.
>> traveling to planet earth and how long did it take? >> 240,000 miles from earth. until apollo 8 went to the altitude record was 853 miles so think about the leap and orders of magnitude that apollo 8 represented . >> all the astronauts are still alive and what do they bring to the mission?>> frank bowman was 40 years old and had flown on one mission before on gemini 7. jim lavelle-- jim lovell was also 40 years old. just 11 days difference and they were joined by a third crew member bill anders making his first flight aboard apollo
8. they were a wonderful mixture of personalities . borman joined odessa for a single purpose. he was not interested in space exploration or picking up rocks . he joined nasa for one reason and that was to defeat the soviet union on the most important battlefield anywhere, space. jim lovell it seemed his polar opposite. since high school he had been in love with the idea of rockets in space travel. he was very romantic about the idea of flying into space and pushing into the cosmos to places that no one had ever been. anders seemed a beautiful combination of the two. he also strongly believed defeating the soviet union but was also a nuclear engineer and a scientist and interested in the geology of the moon. how did we get from john f. kennedy
to safely putting a man at the end of the decade to the apollo 8 mission in december 1968 to neil armstrong in 1969? >> that's a very good question because when the president made that promise it did not seem like an ambitious promise. it seemed like an insane promise especially for the higher-ups at nasa. no one had any idea how to do such a thing and did not have the infrastructure or technology to do that. nobody had any idea how they were going to pull it off but kennedy made that promise not just for publicity reasons or political reasons. we are losing the space race badly against the soviet union and the president needed something so spectacular and important and
profound that it would overtake the soviets and when the space race. we need a real time to do it because we were so far behind and the idea of landing a man on the room-- on the moon and bring him some safely seemed like the perfect combination. let me follow up on that point, why were we behind? what were they doing at the time that we were not? >> that was a big question for the united states. why were we behind? it started in 1957 when the soviets launched sputnik, the world's first artificial satellite. they made their own moon in 1957 of that was a spectacular excitement for the whole world. in a matter of days it dawned on me-- it dawned on the united states that if they could put this man in space think about soldiers in space and the big shock to us a few years before.
not only have they caught up they started to do things we were not doing including putting the first man in space in orbit, the first woman in space, the first dog. everything seemed bigger better and more spectacular than the united states was doing. they believed maybe earlier than we did that the control of space was an existential proposition and those who could when the space race could control the future. >> could you expand the significance of how this became essentially a christmas mission? >> the mission had not been conceived months before it was launched. that's almost impossible to think about. normal space missions took a year or a year and a half to plan. this was conceived 16 weeks before it was scheduled to launch. the lunar module which would shuttle astronauts from the order but-- orbiting
spacecraft to the lunar surface and back had fallen behind due to design and production problems. that alone threatened the entire progress of the program but not only did it threaten to halt the program, but it put president. kennedy's deadline in jeopardy and maybe even worst of all, threatened to allow the soviets to get the first human beings around the moon. a brilliant wonderful man who was in charge of the spacecraft had an epiphany in the early summer of 1968 and the epiphany was if nasa could send a mission to the moon without the lunar module, go to the moon and they could learn everything there was to learn about a lunar mission and they could keep the program moving. he realized that given the position of the earth and the
moon. if they could come together they could go as early as late 1968 and it would call for them to be in lunar orbit on christmas eve and christmas day of 1968. somehow he convinced the mastermind director of flight operations and finally they got everybody on board. it seemed impossible to pull this off. they could keep the promise alive for the country and maybe most important is to have an outside chance of delivering the first man around the moon. the riots and demonstrations are all things finally the election of richard nixon. i want to put on the screen
that has become iconic and it is the earthrise photograph that took place when the mission was taking place. explain this picture. >> i think this is the most powerful profound photograph ever taken representing the first time that human beings are looking back at themselves as a single self-contained entity. one of the wonderful aspects of the picture is that none of the astronauts expected to see this beautiful scene unfold before them. it happened on the fourth of the 10 revolutions apollo 8 was planning to make . through the training that was all compressed into 16 weeks, no one thought to plan for and earthrise. the astronauts were coming around the moon and borman
changed the orientation of the spacecraft so that the windows were facing forward. the astronauts looked out their windows and all they could see was the gray expanse of the lunar landscape. it was all gray. there was no color. there were craters mountains hills and gray. beyond the horizon was the pitch back black infinity of space and out there it's a different kind of sensation them what we know here-- than what we know on earth. it comes the tiniest splash of blue and it's a miracle. none of them is expecting it, but suddenly the blue rises and there's a crest to the top. then there's a blue and white and all of a sudden they realized that what they are looking at is the earth rising over the lunar horizon and it is magnificent to them.
you should hear tapes and listen to the discussion in the spacecraft. they are besides themselves. he has a short lens and black and white film. bill anders who was the principal photographer and an artist at heart has a long lens and color film and he takes pictures of the earth rising over the lunar landscape. these men are overwhelmed at what they are seeing. anders gets the shot that would be known as earthrise. i think it is the most powerful and important picture ever taken because it shows us all as one especially at the end of this year which is arguably one of the most terrible and divisive years in american history. >> joining us from chicago, the daring odyssey of apollo 8 and the astronauts who made a man's first journey to the moon, we
want to bring in viewers and listeners. if you remember the mission give us a call. for those of you out west, 202748 for those of you out west, 202-748-8002. you mentioned with the astronauts that we are seeing and feeling as they are orbiting the moon, here is part of their first-hand account.>> 68 hours and 58 minutes the astronauts passed around the dark side of the moon. 10 minutes later they fired the thrust engine into successful lunar orbit. >> by now they were radioing back there close-up sightings of the moon only 70 miles away.
>> i know my own impression is that it's a vast, lonely expanse of nothing. it looks like clouds and clouds and certainly does not appear to be a various-- place to live or work. >> they photographed other potential landing sites. >> those first-hand accounts, robert kurson, when you see that what do you think ? >> this is really the first time we have ever left home and they are describing it to us. it's a miracle of technology. it's a miracle to think that
these three men climbed aboard a rocket that had the power of a small atomic bomb, a rocket that has only been thrown-- flown twice. these men were incredibly courageous describing this body that has called to humanity since we began walking the earth. i never get tired of hearing it or wonder what they did. >> in july 1969 heather not be a apollo 8 , correct? >> that's very true. one of the things that attracted me to the story is that when i listened to interviews with other astronauts and personnel it seemed they seemed to speak about apollo 8
intones that they didn't even use for their own flights. the theme came down to this. by the time the subsequent missions flew, so much of what needed to be known and done they never knew that any of it could be done for sure. it represented a first in so many ways and nobody knew that any of it could happen. they were the true pioneers and took the highest risks in my estimation and flew the most dangerous of all the missions. >> you told the story about how the book come to kim about. tell the story again if you would. >> it really originated right here where i'm standing which is one of my favorite places on earth. starting a nursery school for kindergarten, one of the great
miracles it's impossible to find your way out and three years ago i was showing friends of mine the german u-boat that happens to be a perfect match for the rare 9c 40 that i wrote about in the first book. when the tour was done i tried to find my car but i got lost and wandered into this roma. in the center of the room is this wonderful, beautiful spacecraft which looks, when you first set eyes on it, as if it has come from the past and future all at once. it said that this was apollo 8 which made the first journey to the room . i knew almost
nothing about apollo 8 and yet, here it said something really incredible. when i finally did find her way out i ran home and started to research seeing what other people thought about apollo 8. this one stood out to everybody and that's how i start got started on the book. ted is joining us from north carolina. >> i can't remember exactly where i was on christmas of 1968. i was 14 at the time and i want to stop think kurson -- mr. kurson for the articulate explanation of that time which, i think any child would remember
, looking at the space capsule it's amazing to imagine that those three men went to the moon and came back. i wanted to compare quickly with where we are today with elon musk and, i guess, blue orchid or blue space exploration with the reusable spacecrafts. i think we are in another time where space exploration is beginning to go beyond our expectations. it is an amazing time again where we are lucky enough to be witnessing new exploration. thank you for this program. it's a very interesting. >> thank you for the kind words. i agree about the excitement of the new space age.
private enterprises are doing remarkable things and if you watched the launch it was almost like watching true science fiction come to life to see them lend themselves, it's better than any hollywood special effect can pull off. to think that there are people investing their own money and exploring not just the moon but going beyond to mars and further, it's a thrilling time to be alive and i feel lucky to be old enough to appreciate it. i was five years old when apollo 8 went for watching the launch of these rockets and the insight craft, and taking high resolution pictures. i do feel really lucky to witness it.>> i will show this -- walter cronkite. i mention that because david has treated
this bucket list, to witness a rocket on the scale of a saturn 5 lunch up close. will be see something like this again? >> i think it's in our human dna to push further and further. i think it's in our system. by the we as we sit here at the end of 2018 the saturn 5 remains the most powerful machine. when the obsolete-- when it's obsolete in a matter of months it is still the most powerful machine and the testimony is incredible. it's like something we can never experience and walter cronkite himself, when he announced the launch of apollo 4 they normally stayed and a
conservative run-- walter cronkite is overwhelmed. he's trying to load the panels and the power experienced by those people almost cannot be described. 13 miles away and windows were rattling and threatening to collapse. to get anywhere close really is a bucket list item. if they ever launch something again stop at nothing. >> the excitement will never appear again about space travel. we let it slip away and we will never get it back. >> what is true is that certain things will never happen again for the first time and that's one of the things that thrills me about this story. no matter where we go or what we do, no one will ever again leave earth for the first time or arrive at the moon for the
first time. that is what remained so exciting to me. i hope we have that sense as we go beyond. >> good morning. >> i remember 1968 it was such a big year. we had vietnam, walter cronkite, the war was unavoidable. i think it picked up the spirits of the country. i think this launch. i was sitting in this family after midnight mass and it was amazing. it seems like yesterday.
>> it was very amazing and people were worried about it because it was so compressed because of its conception. people were very worried about this. famous astronomers begged not to do it but one of the most moving things that i found was a letter written by a schoolteacher janessa begging them not to go at christmas time. his point was that it had been such a terrible year with the tet offensive. we have violence in the streets including the right here at the democratic national invention. you have a president who has decided not to run for reelection. everything seems torn and divided and the teacher is making the point that this is the worst year that any of us has ever lived through.
the one day we have where we can exhale and relax is the only thing we really have in this terrible year. can you please not risk the lives of these men? please don't do that. he said if anything happens to these men no one will ever think of christmas or the moon the same way again. not only was the space mission at stake but others. nasa believed so strongly in its engineers that they were committed to going and go they did. >> one telegram said what about 1968? >> when apollo 8 launched, time magazine had already named the day center as the man of the year-- is the dissenter. the broadcast arrived there and
time magazine changed its mind and named the crew of apollo 8 the man of the year. they would not even bestow that on apollo 11. that's what it meant for the country and the world. after the astronauts came back home they were inundated with cards and letters. millions of people came out. tens of thousands came out and the astronauts could not read all of them but they stayed with them and remains with them 50 years later. it was sent by an anonymous person and said simply thanks, you saved 1968. indeed they had a. >> in the back of your book you had a diagram of apollo 8 and from a layman perspective , what is remarkable is really how remarkable this profit was. >> at once it is incredibly simple and incomprehensibly complicated.
to get to the moon and not just get to the moon, the soviet threat is to fly around the moon. apollo 8 takes a further. one of the legends of nasa wants to not just go around but go in orbit. at once it is very complicated but very simple. it wasn't even the most up-to- date phone. he said there's more computing power in this iphone than mission control had their combined. he said that little watch had more computing power than they had in the spacecraft behind me. in a way it's a very simple. the calculations that they made is incomprehensible. the scheduled to arrive at a certain time that was predict did and when frank borman heard
their prediction he started to do their own calculations figuring that the average age of the specialists were 24 years . that was the average age of the people plotting this course. when it skipped behind the far side causing communication to go dead because the moon is in the way, the astronauts checked the clock and mission control in the trajectory specialists had gone the predicted cut offer right to the-- the cutoff time right to the absolute second. that's what they were doing 50 years ago. incredible to think about how complex and simple it was at the same time. >> you can get more information by logging on to the museum of science and industry including celebrating the moon and the apollo 8 mission. >> first off, i want to thank c-
span because something about the way that you do things always rings joy and happiness especially when things are all screwed up around here. what i remember back then was the fact that everyone was saying why are we wasting all of this money going to the moon? people did not get how important this was because with everything that went on, it provided an opportunity to bring a great amount of peace and joy to the nation and what those guys did which is a question i have for the author, how do you find three individuals to go into a space like that, go someplace where no one went before figuring that those will work together.
how do you pick out three individuals that have the personalities to do something like this? i would be curious about these individuals. >> it's a good question and. we are not sure how they picked them in for the missions but nasa had something deeply and fundamentally correct about how they sought out these people and brought them into the astronaut corps. borman and lovell had flown together for 14 days. it was the longest manned mission ever and it was in a capsule smaller than the one behind me. it was a size no larger than the front half of a volkswagen beetle. if you could do that together
you could probably go to the moon together. after climbing down to the recovery ship after 14 days in which they shared toothbrushes and sing songs, lovell set i would like to announce our engagement even though they were different kinds of men, they got along beautifully and it was a perfect match. there's an unlikely but wonderful combination and nasa somehow knew what to look for and find the right stuff. at the end of 1968 it was something special. it seems that when apollo 8 launched no one could agree. everyone was divided in the fabric of society had been torn apart. it didn't seem that there was anyone in the country or all the world who could disagree that something beautiful had happened. >> the backup mission, who were
the ones that it-- designated? >> neil armstrong and buzz aldrin. the way they had flights planned, if you are backup your primary crew versus three flights later. as a backup for trenton became primary for apollo 11. -- backup for trenton became primary for apollo 11. they got hints that they knew something was happening. >> why was neil armstrong the first man to walk on the moon? why was he designated? >> i'm not an expert completely. i think it was the way that the rotation fell but i cannot say that for certain. they were very confident and by the way, fred hayes was the third astronaut on backup who ended up flying on apollo 11. there was some talk that they were considering sending the crew of apollo 8 as the crew
of apollo 11 but that did not prove to be true as i track down that information.>> consider that everyone of us is tweeting on a computer device more powerful than the computers on the apollo mission. >> it is beyond belief. to see the memories that they had at their disposal, i was told that when they were training for apollo 8, in order to practice reciting stars, he would go to boston and work at mit and they would use a bright light on top of the building looking up from over the charles river. this is how primitive and rushed things were. very little computing power. the simulators were world-class but if you look at them, they look like objects designed by
jazz musicians, painters, and poets. it's wild but they brought it together and made it work almost without a hitch. >> speaking about the apollo 8 crew at the white house here's what he said. >> mr. president., i thought that we had experienced every emotion known to man in the 20 hours we've spent in lunar orbit, but i must confess that i believe this top so that. i know that i speak for jim and bill when i say we are grateful americans. we recognize your interest in contributions and we are grateful to this wonderful country. they have supported us in every way and although we are symbolic of the greatness of the country we certainly feel very inadequate and are very grateful.
we wanted to give you two things. a space treaty around the moon and bill anders is going to present that to you. mr. president., jim lovell has a picture of the ranch i think you would like to have. >> from 1968, all three crewmembers are still alive. this is a more recent photograph, william anders, lovell and borman. >> i want to thank mr. kurson and commend c-span for reminding us of what mr. kurson said was one of the most
tremendous events in human history. i know that people next july will be thinking about the first man to walk on the moon, but this event which was the first time that humans went to the moon is in my mind just as substantial as the apollo 8 next july. thank you for bringing that to the attention of the nation. i hope that mainstream media will pick up on this tremendous event and the three humans, thank god they are still alive that for first went to the moon, i was 8 years old. if you had told me when i was eight years old that in 50 years we would not be capable of putting man not just back to the moon but not even putting
them in orbit, i know we are trying and there have been attempts to get back on a manned spaceflight, but we would not be even capable of putting man in low earth orbit. i would have said are you kidding me? are you crazy? anyway, thank you c-span and thank you mr. kurson. >> let me take this point . there's a photograph in your book of valerie enders and susan borman. we are told that lovell radioed to earth and said please be informed, there is a santa claus. what does this picture represent?>> the picture is layers deep. she was suffering badly by the time that apollo 8 launched . about a year and a half before, three astronauts lost their lives during a test for apollo 1 . one of susan's close friends
watched the devastation that the loss wreaked on her family and the children and she became convinced not with relative certainty but with 100% certainty that frank was going to die. when the mission was given she was sure it was going to happen on apollo 8. she had gone drinking when white lost his life but he knew nothing about that. she believed it was her duty not just to her husband but country to spare her husband from any anxiety that might be going on in her life or the life of her home so frank was oblivious that the suffering she was enduring. susan was so convinced that she was going to perish that while he was in orbit she began composing his eulogy at her kitchen table because she wanted to be the one in charge when the inevitable happened. nonetheless perhaps the most
dangerous part came when the astronauts had to leave. they had to relight their engine . they only had a single engine and they had to light correctly for lunar orbit. the moment came when the astronauts were behind the moon. they had to wait for a transmission from the spacecraft to confirm that the astronauts were in fact on their way home. when it finally happened, and it was a heart stopping event, it happened later than anybody believe believed was a safer viable. when communication was finally established, it confirmed that there is a santa claus. the moment when they confirmed it was on their way home, a life magazine photographer snapped inside the home of susan borman. there she and valerie are when it was confirmed. it's an incredible photograph in the history behind it and
the suffering is part of what you need to know to appreciate the photograph. >> the president watched this live. good morning. >> i'm coming to verify the recovery ship for apollo 8. we did a recovery of the ship and there was a very important experiment we were using for that mission. we were sent to bring back pictures and i never found out whether that mission or that experiment went over. i was wondering if there was information about that
particular mission. >> i'm sorry to say that founds sounds fascinating but i don't know about it at all.>> what that celebration meant, what was going through their mind? >> it's hard to say. what they felt the most when they got on the recovery ship was grateful to be americans. they felt proud of the country for what they represented and what it had risked and dared to do. we are still in the cold war and this is a battle of ideals. it's a battle of freedom and communism. it was thought that whoever could win the space race could do a lot to win the cold war. i think they appreciated the sense of where they come from and where they return to most.
that in the ability to breathe fresh air after 6 1/2 days in this spacecraft.>> putting together this book you had firsthand oral accounts and chronicles. >> it was the luckiest thing in the world. they welcomed me into their homes and gave me unlimited access to them. they were happy to see me whenever i needed to to confirm things with me. they could not have been nicer people. just how important the wives were to this story. i am ashamed to admit that i did not really contemplate that but very soon after interviewing those astronauts, i realized that these women were just as courageous, just as heroic and just as important to the success as their husbands were. what they endured and made possible is so moving to me and
deep that it became a major part of the story and my book. the astronauts could not have been nicer or more regular guys. when they were pushing in the black and white television on a metal coaster, the kids would gather around and watch. they were half human and half godly. almost like a different species . they were so spectacular with many levels beyond superstar athletes. they were doing things that no one had ever attempted to do before. i had to get used to the idea that these were just three of the nicest and most ordinary wonderful, warm regular guys. i had to remind myself that they had actually done something unprecedented and spectacular and just appreciate
that the strands of dna with wiring that is different from the rest of us is very much like us. it is the right stuff that separates them that allows them to climb 363 foot tall rockets, a rocket that has flown twice and launch to a place 40,000 miles away. it was a privilege to get to know them and their wives and family.>> no back up engine, the point you just made. had the mission failed to what would have happened? >> the troubled lunar module is what causes this whole plan to be rushed into existence and executed. the lunar module needs to be left behind. if they go without it they can learn everything about making a
lunar landing safe but it served a very critical secondary function and that was a back up engine. when was in orbit and needed to come home they needed to relight the only engine that they had capable of getting them out of lunar orbit. if it fired too hard or gently it could be trapped in lunar orbit and writing to the surface. they could be flung off into eternal orbit. they do not have the back up engine that is the lunar-- with the lunar module represents. apollo 13 flown by jim lovell, the secondary function of the backup engine proves critical to saving them after an explosion near the moon. that's what they use to get home. if that accident happened
aboard it apollo 8 it would still be out in space. >> i am so excited about this program. i watched this a year after when neil armstrong went to the moon. a woman was in the control room and all of the people in the control room have a recording of neil armstrong and she was-- $40 at that time. ever since then, i kept all of the clippings and everything from the newspaper. now i am hearing this and i'm all excited. i love it. thank you so much for
everything you are telling us. this really brings back memories. >> thank you. your reaction? >> i'm as excited as she is. i think it goes to something deep inside of our dna, this hunger that we have to explore and go beyond as something that speaks to all of us. at the end of 1968, this did it. i think we could use another apollo 8 for our time today. another dinner honoring astronauts, charles lindbergh was in attendance. you can see how far we came after lindbergh made his historic flight. >> at the first white house dinner honoring americans-- america's entire space to be praise the leadership of the
outgoing director james webb. charles lindbergh, named for his solo flight 41 years ago. the astronauts of apollo 7 and apollo 8 earned their place in history. they autographed a document that will hang in the treaty room alongside mementos of earlier spacemen who visited the mansion. >> i will not say this. colonel. borman, captain. lovell and major injuries, we pray for you, we wish you godspeed, wish for your safe return, and the only person in the world that's going to be
more concerned about you than i am are those who wait for your return. >> 15, 14, 13, 12, 11, 10, 9 we have ignition sequence. the engines are on. 4, 3, to make 2, 0. >> 7:50 1 am eastern standard time. >> 65 years to the month after orville and wilbur wright pioneered the airplane, rockets launched the crew on man's first trip to the moon.
>> that is a remarkable point just how far we came from orville and wilbur wright to charles lindbergh to the apollo program. >> unbelievable. he met with astronauts a day before they launched and he was asking about the fuel that would be expend. he made some calculations and told them that in the first second of the flight they would burn 10 times more fuel than lindbergh burned from new york to paris in 1927. trolley from new york, good morning. >> merry christmas to all. i was 16 years old when ed white became the first american. it was exciting because there was a launch every week but
apollo 8 is important because it's the first mission to leave earth's orbit. apollo 8, 11, 12, and 13 is this country's greatest accomplishment. >> i could not agree more. the more that you look into it the more astonishing that it comes-- happens 50 years ago. it does not seem old or ancient. i don't know that we have the kind of existential threat that we have that would cause us to push into the unknown but i have hope that we will do it soon because we could use that kind of wonder again. >> how the number and the orbit really did like-- look like the
number 8. >> that logo was designed by jim lovell hours after the new assignment came in. they were sharing a jet to fly back to houston to tell their wives about the mission and he started to sketch the figure 8 around the moon. it was the first of many perfect confluence is where that represents everything there is to know about the flight. >> here's the lunar orbital plan. john from tampa florida, good morning. >> i was 10 years old when apollo 8 happen -- happened. it seems like only yesterday. i remember meme i mother and father watching this is saying does this mean we get to go to the moon? neil armstrong set foot upon the moon and it's this same
time they lost the will, specifically apollo 18, 19, and 20. it currently finds itself in. have a nice holiday season. >> i will show you the photographs from the white house watching the coverage. explain what we had during the time period. what was happening? >> more people are watching these events than has ever tuned in in history. i think he's looking at three television screens representing major networks. another risky part of the mission but only until the spacecraft hits the water are people going to believe that
this really happened. they believe it but it's not going to dawn on them until they are back to earth. that's the moment that you are looking at they are. they are. they were told that the broadcast they would make would be listened to by more people that ever tuned in and history. more than one third would be tuning in and to that end nasa gave him these instructions. say something appropriate. talking about that now he has the greatest life in the world, he said can you imagine being given that direction today? it would be focus groups and committees, go to the white house and marketing agencies. they left it strictly to his crewmates. when they struggled with what we should say, the toyed with the idea of changing lyrics to christmas carols but it seemed
to frivolous for such a momentous occasion. that man could not think of anything. his wife told him i know it she should say. she explained what she thought the man should say on christmas eve as they orbited the moon and he knew immediately that that was right. he told borman and his crewmates knew immediately that it was right. they wrote it down on fireproof paper, put it in the flight plan and forgot about it. they didn't tell wives or children, no one. here comes this live broadcast and a third of the worlds population is tuned in. it is spectacular to see the screen flickered to life. the astronauts begin by giving a
hotel saying there's the crater and here's what it's been like and with only about one or one or two-- one or two minutes to go before the signal goes dead, bill anders begins to speak and everyone's heart is pounding. one person described their legs shaking. they have no idea what's coming but that's true of everyone who is listening. bill anders begins to speak and he says to the world, in the beginning god created. and he immediately, these grown men and hardened engineers, start to sob. it's true there and around the world, he's reading from the first lines of the book of genesis. he's reading a story that speaks to so many of us, the story of creation about where we came from. it doesn't have to do with tribes countries or conflicts. it's a story for everyone.
he reads these lines and lovell takes over and finally borman reads a few lines. with a few moments left frank borman says with that, i'd like to wish everyone a happy holidays, merry christmas to everyone on earth. merry christmas to everyone on the good earth. with that the signal goes dead. around the world people stream out of their homes, out of schools, from under bridges, everywhere looking skyward hoping to catch a glimpse of this spacecraft and the men inside who spoke to all of us knowing that they cannot catch a glimpse of anything but looking all the same. that's what that meant for the world, that broadcast from the moon. >> that moment that you described. >> the sunrise for all the people back on earth, there's a
message that we would like to send to you. in the beginning, god created the heaven and the earth, and the earth was without form, and void, and darkness was upon the face of the deep. in the spirit of god moved upon the face of the water, and god said let there be light and there was. god saw the light and it was good. >> and god called the light day. and the darkness he called night, and god said divide the waters from the waters. and the waters-- and it was so. waters d let te
begot on earth and d let te >> together into one place, and it was so. god called the dry land earth and the gathering together of the waters, god saw that it was good. from the view of apollo 8, we close with good night , good luck, a merry christmas, and god bless all of you, all of you on the good earth. >> that from 50 years ago, robert kurson, our final minute. what is the message and the lessons learned from the
mission? >> the lesson learned is that if people in this country and america have the will and believe in something strongly enough they can do something, even something that is impossible to start with. with enough heart and commitment , and especially with our backs against the wall, the united states is capable of anything and not just anything, but things that benefit the whole world. >> rocket man, the daring odyssey of apollo 8 and the astronauts who made a man's first journey to the moon. joining us from chicago, thank you very much for your time. >> i'm grateful. thanks for having me. 50 years ago apollo 8 launched from cape kennedy, the first manned mission to orbit the moon. frank borman was on board as commander. we hear about his
IN COLLECTIONSCSPAN3 Television Archive Television Archive News Search Service
Uploaded by TV Archive on