Naval History and Heritage Command

Naval History and Heritage Command

Apollo 8, the second manned spaceflight mission, launched 21 December 1968 with Frank Borman, James Lovell, and William Anders on board. The first manned craft to leave low Earth orbit, orbit the moon, and return safely, returned to Earth on 27 December 1968. While in orbit around the moon, the crew participated in a Christmas Eve television broadcast. The command module splashed down in the Northern Pacific Ocean and, about an hour and a half later, both the crew and spacecraft were brought aboard the USS Yorktown (CV-10). Apollo 8 provided valuable information to the Apollo space program, and paved the way for the Apollo 9 moon landing seven months later.