"The First Earthrise" Apollo 8 Astronaut Bill Anders recalls the first mission to the Moon
On Dec. 21, 1968, 40 years ago, the first humans left Earth orbit to circle the Moon. Mission Commander Frank Borman, Command Module Pilot James Lovell, and Lunar Module Pilot William Anders became the first humans to see the far side of the Moon. The crew took three days to travel to the Moon. They orbited 10 times over the course of 20 hours, during which the crew made a Christmas Eve television broadcast. At the time, the broadcast was the most watched TV program in history. They landed on Dec. 27, 1968, in the Pacific Ocean.
On Dec. 20, 2008 Maj. Gen. William A. Anders, USAF (ret.), will appear at The Museum of Flight's William M. Allen Theater to describe his experiences, and his famous photograph, "Earthrise," which he took on Christmas Eve, 1968. His famous quote "We came all this way to explore the Moon, and the most important thing is that we discovered the Earth" and the first pictures taken of the earth from the moon, inspired environmentalists everywhere.
Gen. Anders received a bachelor of science degree from the United States Naval Academy in 1955 and a master of science degree in Nuclear Engineering from the Air Force Institute of Technology at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio, in 1962. He completed the Harvard Business School Advanced Management Program in 1979 and has received many awards, including the Distinguished Service Medals from the Air Force, NASA and the Nuclear Regulatory Commission; Air Force Commendation Medal; National Geographic Society's Hubbard Medal for Exploration; Collier, Harmon, Goddard and White Trophies; and the American Astronautical Society's Flight Achievement Award.
Gen. Anders was backup pilot for the Gemini XI and Apollo 11 flights (first landing on the Moon). He left the federal government after 26 years of service and joined the General Electric Company in September 1977 as vice president and general manager. He later was appointed general manager of the GE Aircraft Equipment Division. Upon leaving GE, he joined Textron as Executive Vice President and then became senior vice president. He later served as chairman and CEO of the General Dynamics Corporation. He was a consultant to the Office of Science and Technology Policy and was a member of the NASA Advisory Council. He is a retired Maj. Gen. in the USAF Reserve with more than 8,000 hours flying time and has since been inducted into the National Aviation Hall of Fame.
Gen. Anders established the William A. Anders Foundation, a philanthropic organization dedicated to supporting educational and environmental issues. The foundation was a primary sponsor of the American Experience episode, "Race to the Moon." (Anders was also portrayed by Robert John Burke in the 1998 miniseries From the Earth to the Moon.) The foundation also sponsors the Heritage Flight Museum in Bellingham, Wash.; Anders serves as its president and is an active participant in its air shows. Gen. Anders is also on the advisory committee to The Museum of Flight. The Anders Crater on the Moon was named in his honor.
The non-profit Museum of Flight is one of the largest independent air and space museums in the world. The Museum's collection includes more than 150 historically significant air and spacecraft, as well as the Red Barn®--the original manufacturing facility of the Boeing Co. The Museum's aeronautical library and archival holdings are the largest on the West Coast. More than 140,000 students are served annually by the Museum's on-site and outreach educational programs - the most extensive museum-based youth aviation and space education program in the country. The Museum is the only aviation and space museum in Washington State that is both nationally accredited with the American Association of Museums and a Smithsonian affiliate.
The Museum of Flight is located at 9404 E. Marginal Way S., Seattle, Exit 158 off Interstate 5. The Museum is open daily from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Admission is $14 for adults, $13 for seniors 65 and older, $7.50 for youth 5 to 17, and free for children under 5. Group rates are available. Admission on the first Thursday of the month is free from 5 to 9 p.m. courtesy of Wells Fargo. For general Museum information, please call 206-764-5720 or visit www.museumofflight.org.