Apollo 8 Reunion

Apollo 8 Reunion

LBJ Library & Museum presents Apollo 8 Reunion with Frank Borman, James Lovell, William Anders

Apr 16, 2009

The Apollo 8 astronauts will not be available to sign autographs. There is no public reception following the program.

(Austin) - In honor of President Lyndon B. Johnson's Centennial and the 50th anniversary of the creation of NASA, the LBJ Library and Museum is hosting an Apollo 8 Reunion on April 23, 2009. The Reunion will honor not only the three astronauts on that historic mission, but also the men and women on the ground who made their illustrious journey a reality.

The evening panel featuring Astronauts Frank Borman, James Lovell , and William Anders will be open to the public. Former NBC News anchor Jim Hartz will serve as moderator.

Admission is free but tickets are required and are available at the LBJ Library and Museum. Doors for the public will open at 5:15 p.m.

Program

6 p.m. Welcome - Dr. Betty Sue Flowers, LBJ Library Director Introduction of Apollo 8 Alumni - all will stand

Remarks - Lynda Johnson Robb - daughter of President Lyndon Johnson Introduction - Dr. Flowers will introduce Jim Hartz

6:15 Panel Discussion with Frank Borman, James Lovell, Williams Anders Moderator: Jim Hartz

6:45 Q & A - moderated by Jim Hartz

7:00 Conclusion of program - Dr. Flowers

The LBJ Library and Museum currently features a major exhibit on space exploration, To the Moon: The American Space Program in the 1960s. Also on display is an art show of Alan Bean's paintings, Alan Bean: First Artist to Visit Another World.

LBJ and Space Exploration

While serving as a U.S. Senator, Lyndon Johnson co-sponsored the legislation that created NASA in 1958. As Vice President, Johnson was appointed by President John F. Kennedy to head the Space Council. In a memo to Kennedy, Johnson recommended that "with a strong effort the United States could conceivably be first" to achieve Kennedy's goal of "landing a man on the moon and returning him safely to the earth" by the end of the decade.

When he became President, Johnson ensured that this goal remained on track, was funded, and that the mission was accomplished. This became one of the most awe-inspiring and dramatic stories of our time.

In 1973, the Manned Spacecraft Center in Houston, Texas, was renamed the Johnson Space Center in honor of the former President.

Apollo 8

The Apollo 8 mission came at a tumultuous time in the United States. The 1960s were a time of war, racial tensions, and political murders.

Originally planned as a low-earth orbit, Apollo 8 was changed to the more challenging lunar orbital flight in August 1968 and was launched with the first manned launch of a Saturn V rocket on December 21, 1968.

The crew, consisting of Mission Commander Frank Borman, Module Pilot James Lovell, and Lunar Module Pilot William Anders, traveled a half-million miles in space and were the first humans to see the far side of the moon and the Earth in its entirety. They also transmitted the first television pictures of the Earth and when the spacecraft emerged from behind the moon, the men became the first to see Earthrise. Anders took a photograph of Earthrise that has become the iconic symbol of Apollo 8. On Christmas Eve, each Apollo 8 astronaut read from the Book of Genesis, a broadcast that became the most watched TV program at that time.

The success of the Apollo 8 mission made it possible for Apollo 11 to land on the moon and achieve President Kennedy's goal of landing a man on the moon and safely returning him to earth before the end of the decade.

Shortly after the mission, the crew received a telegram which said, "Thank you. You saved 1968."