'Apollo's Daring Mission': NASA's Epic Apollo 8 Moonshot Stars in PBS Documentary

Space.com | 12/26/2018 | Staff
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This Christmas season marks the 50th anniversary of one of humankind's most memorable spaceflights: the Apollo 8 moon mission.

The Apollo 8 astronauts circled the moon in December 1968, marking the first time human ever saw the lunar surface from up close with their own eyes. And like every good astronaut today, the Apollo 8 crew brought the public along using cutting-edge technology of the day – color television. To chronicle that epic flight, a new documentary "Apollo's Daring Mission" will air on PBS at 9 p.m. EST (or 8 p.m. CST, depending on the time zone you see it in).

Fan - Space - Program - Filmmaker - Rushmore

"I've always been a fan of the space program," said filmmaker Rushmore DeNooyer in a Space.com interview. "I was lucky to have lived through a lot of these Apollo missions, and I was old enough to follow it and be excited about it."

As DeNooyer's film shows, less than two years before Frank Borman, Jim Lovell and Bill Anders made their daring voyage to the moon, three fellow astronauts and friends died in a terrible pad fire during preparation for the Apollo 1 mission.

NASA - Changes - DeNooyer - Tragedy - Agency

NASA swiftly implemented managerial and technical changes, and DeNooyer said the tragedy taught the agency a lot about spaceflight. While there were many causes for the Apollo 1 fire, the most famous ones are the pure oxygen atmosphere in the spacecraft – which accelerated the fire – and the hatch that proved too difficult for astronauts to open in an emergency. NASA addressed both design problems in future spacecraft.

Three astronauts rode aboard Apollo 8: James Lovell, William Anders and Cmdr. Frank Borman, shown here in a photograph taken a few months before their flight.

Moon - DeNooyer - Knowledge - Hand - NASA

"What they learned from that probably helped them get to the moon successfully," DeNooyer said. With new knowledge in hand, NASA flew Apollo 7 safely...
(Excerpt) Read more at: Space.com
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