ON THIS DAY IN UNITED STATES HISTORY
December 21, 1968
The First Manned Spacecraft to Orbit
Another Celestial Body is Launched
On this day in 1968, the Apollo 8 spacecraft was launched carrying its three-man crew of Mission Commander Frank Borman, Command Module Pilot James Lovell, and Lunar Module Pilot William Anders.
Three days later the spacecraft reached the moon at which time it orbited 10 times over the span of 20 hours.
The successful Apollo 8 mission brought the United States one step closer to completing the ultimate goal announced by John F. Kennedy in 1961, of successfully completing a manned moon landing.