Apollo 8

Exhibit Case, Great Hall, Fourth Floor
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Project Apollo was the United States' human spaceflight program that ran from 1961 to 1972. The main goal of Project Apollo was to land Americans on the moon and return them safely to Earth. On Dec. 21, 1968, at the height of the space race between the United States and the Soviet Union, Apollo 8 became the first manned spacecraft to leave Earth's orbit.

Apollo 8 was originally planned as an Earth orbit mission to test the Lunar Module. Due to production delays, NASA decided to instead send a three-man crew to orbit the moon to test the Command Module. The astronauts spent a total of six days in space and circled the moon 10 times before splashing down in the Pacific Ocean on Dec. 27, 1968.

Artifact Highlights

  • 1968 Time magazine cover which named the Apollo 8 crew as "Men of the Year"
  • Models of the Saturn V rocket and Apollo 8 spacecraft
  • Gifted to President Johnson by the Apollo 8 crew, a signed certificate which includes copies of international space treaties and a mission patch.