Apollo 8 Mission

Apollo 8 mission patch

Mission OverviewNavigation arrow
Apollo 8, the first flight to take men to the vicinity of the Moon, was a bold step forward in the development of a lunar landing capability. With only minor problems, all spacecraft systems operated as intended, and all primary mission objectives were successfully accomplished. Crew performance was admirable throughout the mission. The navigation techniques developed for translunar and lunar orbital flight proved to be more than adequate to maintain required accuracies for lunar orbit insertion and trans-Earth injection. Communications and tracking at lunar distances were excellent in all modes.

Apollo 8 astronaut

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No formal scientific experiments were planned, but recommendations were solicited from scientists regarding tasks and observations that could be accomplished within the equipment and schedule constraints. Principal recommendations were for modifications to initial photographic plans and equipment.

Apollo 8 image of Earth Mission Photography Navigation arrow
Principal photographic objectives were to obtain vertical and oblique overlapping photographs during at least two revolutions, photographs of specific targets of opportunity, and photographs of a potential landing site through the spacecraft sextant.