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tv   Washington Journal Apollo 8 - First Manned Lunar Orbit  CSPAN  December 25, 2018 1:00am-2:02am EST

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>> ok, houston.
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the moon is essentially gray, no color. eve, the date of the mission is dictated by launch windows which open and close. if you miss one, you wait. the date and hour of the apollo 8 mission was determined billions of years ago when the celestial clock was first set in motion. it timed out in the christmas season. bob hope reported the vietnam reaction. >> all joy, all joy. the men i spent christmas with had a lot on their minds but the apollo 8 mission turned out to be as important as any. what the three astronauts did rubbed off on these guys. i think it will be months before we know how much it meant to all of us and all the people of the world. christmas on earth and on the moon.
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>> the moon is different. lonely forbidding type of existence. it looks like clouds and clouds of pumice stone. does not look like a very inviting place to live or work.
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>> my thoughts were very similar. awe-inspiring level, also flewk
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on gemini seven.
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just 11 days difference between the men in age. they were joined by a third crew member, bill anders, who was making his first spaceflight on apollo eight. -- had joined for a single purpose. anders was this combination of the two. he believed strongly in defeating the soviet union in the space race but was also a nuclear engineer and a scientist and very much interested in the geology of the moon and of being there and walking on the moon.
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badly against the soviet union and the president needed something so spectacular, so important and profound, that it butd overtake the soviets he needed some real time in which to do it because we were so far behind. the idea of landing a man on the moon and bringing him home safely seemed the perfect combination and nasa had to
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and execution.
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this one was conceived 16 weeks before was scheduled to launch and was done under duress. the lunar module, the spider had fallen behind in mid-1968 due to design and production problems and that alone threatened the progress of the apollo program. not only did it threaten to slow down or even halt the program, it put kennedy's end of decade deadline in jeopardy and threatened to allow the soviets to get the first human beings around the moon. there was a huge problem in mid-1968, a brilliant man at nasa who was in charge of the apollo spacecraft had an epiphany in the early summer of 1968. and that a company was if -- and that epiphany was if nasa can send a mission to the moon without the lunar module, they can learn everything there was to learn about a lunar measure -- a lunar mission, and they
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could keep the program moving. he thought this through and realized that given the position of the earth and the moon and if everything at nasa could come together in a near miraculous way, they could go as early as would call fort them to be in lunar orbit on christmas eve and christmas day. he believed it and convinced chris craft, director of flight operations at nasa and they got everybody on board. it seemed impossible to pull this off in four months but if they could do it, they could keep the program moving, 1968.
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i want to put on screen a photograph that has become iconic. it is the earthrise photograph that took place when the apollo mission was taking place. explain this picture. guest: i believe this is the single most important photograph ever taken. it represents the first time human beings are looking back at themselves as a whole, as a single self-contained entity. one of the wonderful aspects of this picture is none of the astronauts expected this scene to unfold before them. through all the training, no one had ever thought the plan for an
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earthrise. the astronauts were coming around the it. there is a crest to the top and there is blue and white and all
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of a sudden they realize what they are looking at is the earth rising over the lunar horizon and it is magnificent. you should hear the tapes of their discussion in the spacecraft. they are overcome with joy and wonder. they rush for their cameras.
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seeing and feeling as they were orbiting the moon. here is part of their first-hand account. of their first-hand account. [video clip] >> they fire the first engine into a successful lunar orbit.
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by now, they were radioing their close-ups of the moon. >> the moon is a different thing to each one of us. vastpression is it is a lonely forbidding type of existence. and expanse of nothing. it looks like clouds of pumice stone. not appear to be a very inviting place to live or work. >> during their 10 orbits of the moon, the astronauts photographed acf regularly and other teacher landing sites for use by apollo explores. host: those first-hand accounts.
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body that has called to humanity. first-hand delivering the report to us. i never get tired of hearing it. host: the underscore that there would not have been neil armstrong in july of 1969 heather not been an apollo 8. correct? guest: that is very true. when i listen to interviews with
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other astronauts, they seem to speak about apollo 8 in reverential tones, tones they did not even use for their own flights. it came down to this. by the time the subsequent apollo missions flew, so much of what needed to be known and done at artie been done and proven, saturn five.llo 8 went, nobody
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mostaturn five remains the powerful machine ever built. think about that. 50 years later, it is still the most powerful machine. the testimony of the people who witnessed it is incredible.
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heter cronkite himself, when announced the launch of the apollo for which was the first unmanned test of the saturn five. walter cronkite johnson hotel, the windows were rattling and threatening to collapse on the hotel stairs. a get anywhere close to rocket launch is definitely a bucket list item. host:i watched this on tv and is
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amazing. it seems like yesterday. guest: people were very worried about it because apollo 8 exhalx
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for just a few hours. it was the only thing we had in this year. please don't risk the lives of these men. if anything happens to these men, no one will think of christmas or the moon the same way ever again. not only was the space race at stake, but the moon and christmas were at stake. but these people believed in their hearts and minds that they needed to go and they did.
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t read all of them but one of them anded with remains with them, it was sent by an anonymous person in the midwest and it simply said thanks, you saved 1968, and indeed they in the back of your, you have a diagram of apollo 8 an from a layman's perspective, what is remarkable is how simple this market -- how simple this
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rocket was. guest: it is at once incredibly
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which is a question i have for the author, which is how do you find three individuals to go into space like that, go someplace where nobody ever went before,
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figuring that those three individuals can work together because i can imagine, how do you end up picking out three individuals that have the personalities to do something like this? i would be curious how these individuals were picked. host: thank you for the call. guest: it is a very good question and i agree with what they brought to the country in 1968. i am still not sure how they picked these men or the others for other missions. deeply, andething the mentally correct in how they screen these people out. these men truly did have the right stuff. in terms of apollo 8, there was a pretty good idea that this was going to go well. had flown together for 14 days, the longest manned space mission ever in a capsule much smaller than the one behind meaa
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picked them and as you said, at the end of 1968, it really was something special. it seemed when apollo 8 launched, nobody could agree about anything. the fabric ofder speaking aboute
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apollo 8 at the white house, there is what he said. -- here is what he said. [video clip] president, i thought we had experienced every emotion known to man. at 20 hours, i must confess that i believe -- i know i speak for jim and bill when i say we are three grateful americans, grateful for you personally for your interest and contributions to the space program of our country, and we are grateful to this wonderful country. they have supported us in every way and although we are symbolic
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of the country's greatness, we certainly feel inadequate and. we are very grateful we did want to give you -- and we are very grateful. we did want to give you just go things. -- give you two things. president, jim has a picture of the ranch i think you would like to see. [laughter] ho from 1968 and all three crew members, still alive, this is a more recent photograph. back to your phone calls.
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for of one of the most tremendous events in human history. people will be thinking quite a bit about the first man on the moon, to walk on the moon, but this event which was the first time americans meant to the -- americans went to the moon alivt went to the moon. i was eight years old at the time. if you had told me when i was eight years oldthere is a photor
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book of valerie anders and susan borman. ands radioing to earth saying please be informed, there is a santa claus. what is -- what does this picture represent? guest: susan bormann was suffering very badly by the time apollo 8 launched.
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she wanted to be the one in charge when the inevitable happened. perhaps the most dangerous part of the mission came when the astronauts had to leave lunar orbit and relight their single engine. they had no redundancy.
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magazine work -- a magazine photographer of susan borman when it is confirmed the spacecraft is on its -- on its way home. go to melvin, joining us from chicago as a look at how the country, including lyndon johnson, watched this live, christmas of 1968. verify.i am calling to you said -- was the recovery ship for the apollo 8. i was on board of the time we did the recovery and it was a
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that sounds fascinating. host: we are looking at their return and pictures and celebration of what that meant for them. what was going through their minds? guest:untry or what it represend and what it had done and what it had wrist -- risked. we were still in a cold war and this was a battle of ideals. freedom and communism. it was thought that the alive, d
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in putting together this book you had firsthand accounts. guest: it was the luckiest thing in the world for me that all three astronauts were not only zeding but welcomed me into were just asmen
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and the kids would rather around and watch, i thought of , theyauts as demigods were half human and half godly to me, another species. they were so done or even attemd to do before. when i finally met frank borman had to getders, i used to the idea that these were the nicest, most ordinary, regular guys and i had to remind
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us but there is something a little bit different about them. it is the right stuff that separates them and allows them a rocket that is flown only twice, with no backup engine and launch for a place on hundred 40,000 miles away. it was a real privilege to get to know them and their wives and their families. host: i want to go back to the point you just made. no backup engine. had the mission failed, what would have happened? the trouble in, the modules that caused this plan to be rushed into existence
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, the lunar module needs to be left behind. if they go without the module, they can learn everything there is about making a lunar landing but the literal -- but the lunar module served a secondary function and that was as a backup engine. that meant when the apollo 8 was in orbit and needed to come home, they had to relate the only engine they had on board, capable of getting them out of lunar orbit. if that engine failed or it miss fired, they could be trapped in lunar orbit for tens of thousands of years before crashing into the surface. or they could be flung off into eternal lunar orbit -- solar orbit.
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ever since then, i have all the clippings and everything from the newspapers and now i turned
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c-span on and i am hearing this and i am all excited. i have my face right in the tv. thank you so much for everything you are telling us. this really brings back memories. host: thank you. fromt kurson, your reayou can e when he made his historic flight. [video clip] >> a few days before the apollo
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8 countdown at the first white house dinner honoring america's entire space team, president johnson praised the leadership of nasa's outgoing director. on hand was charles lindbergh, famed for his solo flight 41 years ago, and the astronauts of apollo seven and apollo 8 who in 1968 earned their place in history. in route to the dinner, they autographed a document which will hang in the treaty room alongside the mentos of earlier spacemen who visited the mansion. >> the countdown for apollo 8 we pray for you, we think of you. we wish you godspeed.
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andish you a safe return the only person in the world that is going to be more iscerned about you than i am the girls who wait for your return. 15, 14, 13, 12, 11, 10, 9, and we have the ignition sequence starting. 1, and we have left off. we have cleared the tower. >> roger. >> stand clear. month afterto the orville and wilbur wright propelled the first american airplane over the ocean dunes at
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kitty hawk, powerful saturn rockets launched apollo 8's crew mission, how
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the number and orbit of the lunar module did look like the number eight. that logo was designed by jim just after the mission assignment came in. sharing --an were and he started to sketch the figure eight confluences, the logo represented everything there is to know about the flight. host: here is the lunar orbital plan from nasa. john from florida, good morning. caller: good morning.
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i will show the photograph of president johnson from the white house watching the coverage. explain what we had from the three broadcast networks during this time period. guest: more people are watching these events that have ever tuned into an event in human history. the picture you are looking at, i think he is looking at three television screens which represent the major networks. he is watching splashdown which is coming, another risky part of the mission.
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only until the spacecraft hits the water are people going to believe that this is really happening. it is not going to dawn on them that it came through until that moment. that is what you are looking at. you have to remember something
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you haveurson, set up this final piece of film perfectly, that moment you just described. [video clip]
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>> we are now approaching lunar sunrise. earthl the people back on , the crew of apollo eight, a message we would like to send to you. createdeginning, god heaven and the earth. and the earth was without form and void and darkness. the spirit of god moved upon the base of the water and god said let there be light and there was light. and god saw the light, that it was good and divided the light from the darkness. >> then god -- and the darkness he pulled from light and the evening and morning of the first day and god said let there be a ferment in the midst of the
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waters and let it divide the waters from the waters. god made the firmament and divided the waters which were under the firmament from the waters which were above the firmament and it was so. heavenled the firmament and the evening and the morning of the second day. >> and god said let the waters begot on earth and that the dry land appear and it was so. and god called the dry land and with the waters becoming together, he called them the sea and god saw that it was good. , we the crew on apollo 8 close with good night, good luck, merry
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host: that is from 50 years ago robert kurson what is the just s benefit the whole world. rocket men, k is darek odyssey of -- the daring of apollo 8 joining us from chicago tha


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