tv Reel America Debrief Apollo 8 - 1969 NASA Film CSPAN December 24, 2018 2:30pm-3:01pm EST
tv, only on c-span 3. 50 years ago, on december 21, 1968, astronauts frank boreman, jim lovell and bill anders blasted off from kennedy space center in florida on the first manned mission to orbit the moon. on christmas eve, bill anders took the iconic photograph, earth life. next, on real america, "debrief: apollo 8" narrated by actor berjs meredith, this 27-minute nasa film documents the mission which ended december 27, when the spacecraft splashed down in the pacific ocean. >> debrief: apollo 8. >> roger. >> and it is sort of in a paraphrase of a poem.
>> to debrief, is to gather useful information after an event that might have gone unreported during the event itself. and to start to draw some conclusions. >> apollo 8. >> clear. >> okay. twas the night before christmas and way out in space, the apollo 8 crew has just -- >> a machine maybe said to be born when it first performs a useful function. this then is the birth of a machine. and the beginning of an achievement. 363 feet tall. weighing just under 6 1/4 million pounds.
♪ >> capable of 180 million horsepower, the first stage engines came from louisiana. the second stage came from california. as did the third. they were proved out for the mission in alabama. the vehicle destined to make the moon touchdown and a later apollo mission, comes from new york. the guidance and navigation equipment within the narrow instrument ridge grew in wisconsin, was checked in massachusetts. electro mechanicals within the command and service mad ule, modules, are from florida. display systems from new hampshire. the astronaut's space suits are from delaware. the mission commander was born in indiana, grew up in arizona. and its moon voyage, it will be controlled from texas, serviced by skpcomputers in maryland, sph down near hawaii.
the giant crawler on which it rides was made in ohio. the genius and sweat of literally the entire nation ride the mission. ♪ >> the dream of man, the long impossible dream, to reach out to the moon is coming true. these men will lead the way. colonel frank boreman. navy captain jim lovell. lieutenant colonel bill anders. the successful conclusion, the happy ending, is history. but gaps remain. importantly, part of the task of filling those gaps belongs to
each individual. a self-debriefing to evaluate the large significance of the event which mitt have gone unnoticed, might have gone unnoticed in the excitement. for some, this re-evaluation has already begun. dr. norman vincent peale. >> the mission of apollo 8, quite apart from its significant scientific meaning, stimulated an immense rejuvenation of the spirit of mankind. and that spirit needed rejuvenation. a year featured by two grim assassinations, by ri riots abo racial and social strife and a baffling attempt to end the war left men with a dull sense of frustration. and then at the end of such a year, came the apollo 8, and incredible adventure, when three intrepid spirits circled the moon, capturing the fascination of man. their willingness to stake their
lives on the enterprise, the infinite perfection of detail which worked precisely, and their deep spiritual understanding of the greater world in which god preside, communicated a new sense of map's greatness, and gave the world a fresh sense of meaning. >> dr. norman vincent peale, tim tri suggested the earth might be wrong and columbus gave a demonstration of the fact. if any lingers doubt remains, now man has seen with his own eyes. >> i have a beautiful view of the earth. i will try to get a picture for you. >> the s 4 b is a third stage rocket engine, droplets of fuel scattered around it. the speed of the spacecraft outward bound brings us face to face with another acceleration, a new fact of life. historian arthur schlesinger jr.
>> the salient fact of our age is the fantastic speed-up in the velocity of history. it was as recently as 1903 that the wright brothers worked on the sand at kitty hawk and 65 years later within the same lifetime of many men, astronauts fly around the moon. and now the velocity of history is carrying ut into a new phase notice human adventure. no one knows where this new phase will end and what triumph or tragedy. but it is clear that the flight of apollo 8 begins a new epoch in the history of man. >> historian arthur schlesinger jr. part of beginning an epocn in the presence instance is keeping house for about six days in the space in the backseats of three station wagons packed for a family vacation. as you watch motionen pictures taken on board, you will hear comments relayed to houston on the same subject.
>> having bacon squares for breakfast. >> houston, apollo 8 here. i stand corrected. we only had one square here. >> part of the astronaut's working gear is a helmet holding earphones and microphone in position. it's called a snoopy hat. >> looking pretty cool down there, houston. >> we're carrying a big stick. >> just can barely make out clear lake. >> and the novel pictures have dropped from about 94 to around 66. >> this is mission control. it stands as the first rank of the unnumbered and innumerable apollo team. flight controllers man the consoles. they watch a continuation
read-out of every system in the capsule. three shifts around the clock. all flight controllers speak to the astronauts through one voice. the capsule communicator of each shift. he is an astronaut himself. best suited to sense the need, the stresses, the preoccupation, the environment of the men so far away. the line of communications is spread round the world. land bases must be supplemented by ships carrying the special equipment needed to keep the channels open. aircraft billion flying transmitters and receivers. other nations helped with deep space communications. australians joined the team, spaniards in madrid, the third base is in california. men, women and machines, spread round the world. this team is knit by faith, an
acceptance of responsibility for perfect performance. it stretches back to the ranks to each workman involved in american industry. they kept faith in a spirit of dedication through excellence. the successful completion of the mission is a witness to how they came through. and once achieved, this dedication may be applied in other directions. henry ford made comment. >> the courageous voyage of the apollo 8 astronauts has done more than extend our knowledge of the universe. it has enlarged the spirit of man. if we can successfully challenge the mysteries and dangers of outer space, surely we can move confidently now to achieve a better, more peaceful life, for our fellow humans, here and throughout the planet earth. >> mr. henry ford. not all giant eyes and ears on earth are turned towards the spacecraft. the sensing machines of the
spa space particle alert network face the sun. from the life of the sun, are infinitely small pieces of matter. on earth, we are shielded from them by our cloak of atmosphere anding a metto sphere. and, they monitor sun spot and solar flair activity looking for clues in the imminent rise in the stream of potentially hazardous space particles. the team grows wider, deeper, stronger. history repeats itself, in paraphrase. this is the shot seen round the world. this is the first shot of earth. live. on television.
>> the mission was conducted in the plain sight of the entire world. literally. >> happy birthday, mother. >> back in 1961, when apollo goals were first set, president kennedy said, whatever mankind must undertake, all men must freely share. apollo 8 remained true to that pledge. on television, it gave us a new look at the moon, and a new look at ourselves. this is thomas j. watson jr. >> ten years ago, it seemed probable that russia would make this flight before us. and would make a moon landing first, as well. with the apollo 8 flight, it becomes obvious that we have moved into the league. we can be thankful that the united states has shown the world once again that it can accomplish any task it decides upon. >> thomas j. watson jr. chairman of the board of ibm.
>> direct from the deep space tracking antenna in madrid, to these pictures, passed along to the euro-vision, london, paris, rome, west germany, scandinavia, they were seen in warsaw, prague, and moscow. citizen of the world, winner of the nobel prize for peace, dr. ralph bunch. >> apollo 8 and those stout-hearted astronauts, have given to mankind a new and limitless perspective in the universe. and to the earth, an added dimension of proximity and neighborly in the solar system. the epic flight in apollo 8 in cracking the moon barrier, demonstrates that man now has the capability to soar as high and as far as his dreams may
project. >> dr. ralph bunch of the united nations. >> okay, houston, the moon is essentially gray. no color. it's like plaster of paris. or sort of a grayish -- >> christmas eve. the day of the mission, dictated by launch windows which open and close in a long cycle. if you miss one, you wait. the december window opened the 21st, closed the 27th. so the date and hour of the apollo mission was determined billions of years ago when the celestial clock was first set in motion, it timed out to the christmas season. bob hope reported the vietnam reaction. >> all joy, believe me, all joy. the men i spent christmas with have a lot on their minds but the apollo 8 trip turned out to be as important as anything. what the three astronaut disrubbed off on a lot of guys. everybody grew a little tall and that was double if you were away from home. and i think it will be months before we know how much it meant
to all of us and to the people of all of the world. bob hope. >> it was christmas on earth. and on the moon. ♪ >> the moon is a different thing to each one of us. i know my own impression is that it is a vast lonely forbidding type existence, like spans of nothing. it looks like clouds and clouds of pumice stone.
and it certainly would not appear to be a very inviting place to live or work. what do you think? >> my thoughts are very similar. the vast loneliness up here of the moon, is beth awe-inspiring and it makes you realize just what you have back on earth. >> waste land. desolate inhospitable. in unremitting procession. the apparent speed you see these pictures was not realtime, only a technical camera was carried on the mission. altitude, 70 miles. shot with a long lens.
>> i think i can say without contradiction, there has been a mighty long dry spell up here. >> i think you can say anything you'd like without contradiction. ♪ >> this film was taken through an optical sighting instrument on board the spacecraft. two separate images converge on a single eye piece. it was intended only for space
navigation. navigation in space requires three dimensions instead of two. scientific sextant observations made on apollo 8 were a practical potentially vital gathering of scientific data. taking the longer view of the scientific value of the mission, comment was made by dr. leo goldberg, astronomer. >> i believe the apollo 8 mission will ultimately prove to be an enormous scientific importance, as a vital step that had to be taken before men actually land on the moon. once they do, the exploration of the moon is bound to give us crucial information on how the moon and other bodies in the solar system were formed. furthermore, the mission proved that we now have the capability to move large and complicated scientific equipment around in space, and to deploy it almost anywhere we wish to, in the space between the earth and the moon. i find this to be a very
thrilling prospect indeed. but no matter what happens in the future, the voyage of apollo 8 will be looked back upon as the mission that proved we could really operate in space on a large scale. >> astronomer leo goldberg of harvard university. >> the condition of zero gravity, when you get accustomed to it, has some very practical applications. the command module on apollo 8, serial number 103, did not change at christmas, but there was talk of reindeer and santa claus. >> he was looking for a chimney on 103 here, but he didn't see any. >> you could have left the hatch unlocked for him. >> i'll think about that. >> think real hard, jim.
the water, and god said, let there be light, and there was light. and god saw the light. then it was good. and god divided the light from the darkness. >> then god called the light day and the darkness me cahe called night. and god said, let there be -- and let it divide the waters from the waters. and divided the waters, and the waters which were above and it was so, and god called it heaven and the morning were the second day. >> god said let the waters under
the heaven together in one place and let the dry land appear and it was so and god called the dry land earth and the gathering together of the waters called the says and god saw that it was good. and from the crew of apollo 8, we close with good night, good luck, a merry christmas, and god bless all of you, all of you on the good earth. ♪ >> isaac asimov is a professor of biochemistry and prolific writer of science fiction. for many years he's been thinking in terms of an earth to moon to earth trip. he has a special point of view. >> the feat of apollo 8 is of
interest to noomyself because i places any the position of being overconservati overconservative. in 1939, i wrote a story describing in essence this plight. i placed it in 1973. i suppose if someone had asked me then, do you really suppose people will fly around the moon and back to earth by 1973? i would have answered, not really, but it makes a good story. well, they did it in 1968 and i am more happy than i can say. >> isaac asimov stands with one foot in the world of science and one foot in fantasy to take a fictional look at the future. and underestimates with both feet in the practical world and now includes outer space, a comment from the returning space capsule during a tv transmission starts us off in another direction. >> we have you about 180,000.
>> all right. looking at yourselves, seen from 180,000 miles out in space. >> mike, what i keep imagining is if i'm some lowly traveler from another planet, who do i think of the earth from this altitude? whether i think it would be inhabited or not? >> friday december the 27th re-entry, splashdown, acquisition, recovery. the last 15 minutes of the flight, then only 5 miles from the appointed rendezvous in the pacific, it ended, speed zero. if a machine may be said to be born when it performs a useful function, perhaps it is aid saie when that function is fulfilled. having died, it will be enshrined next to its still young ancestors. the aircraft.
lindbergh, spirit of st. louis. this is not an end. f far from it. it's part of a much longer plan. ♪ ♪ it has been estimated at some time or another during the flight of apollo 8, over 1 billion people all over the face of the globe were tuned in to the spacecraft by television or radio. the experience was most widely shared. ♪
the astronauts return to the world of men, but there's more. a week to the day after the apollo 8 splashdown, another apollo spacecraft had taken up its position on pad 39 at cape kennedy. the countdowns by calendar and clock have begun. to bring it to the same moment at which we first saw this apollo 8 the night before it was born. as launch windows open and close, the next missions move forward. two test flights of the lunar landing vehicle, and then the propose ed landing on the moon. plans are in the making which include flybyes of other planets, visits to what dr.
bunch calls neighbors. eric is a writer, until recently a working shoreman, whose deep insights into men have stood the thinking of many. let me quote his words. "i always felt that man is a stranger on this planet. a total stranger. i always played with a fancy that maybe a contagion from outer space was the seed of man. hence, our preoccupation with heaven, with the sky, with the stars, with the god, who is somewhere out there in outer space. it's a kind of homing impulse. we are drawn to where we came from. and i'm just tickled to death that this thing is being done by squares, you know, by average americans. not by these pretentious intellectuals because this is the great genius of the average americans. they take something mementos and
make an unmementos thing out of it. and by the time they are through with it, traveling into space and to the distant stars will become routine. this is why america is an ambiguity in the world. because we make it so that there are no exceptional persons required to do anything. ♪ sbrefinterested in american
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>> watch tuesday, christmas day, on c-span. in a moment, we'll talk with robert kurson, author of "rocketmen: the daring odyssey of apollo 8 and the astronauts who made man's first journey to the moon." first, here's a look back to 1968 and the mission that riveted a global audience watching it all on tv. >> okay, houston. the moon is essentially gray. no color. looks like plaster of paris, you know, or sort of a grayish -- >> christmas eve, the date of the mission is dictated by launch windows which open and close in a long cycle. if you miss one, you wait. the december window opened the 21st, closed the 27th. so, the date and hour of the apollo 8 mission was determined billion of years ago when the celestial clock was set i