Today in history... Man's first broadcast from space


2015-06-26 11:47:22


Today in history... Man's first broadcast from space

December 24, 1968: Apollo 8 transmits the first space footage to stunned TV viewers back home

OverChristmas, most television audiences make do with the Queen's speech or another repeat of The Great Escape. But in the US, on Christmas Eve, 1968, viewers were watching something a bit different

On television screens across the nation, the three-man crew of Apollo 8 - Frank Borman, James Lovell (later of Apollo 13 fame) and William Anders -were reading passages from the book of Genesis.

Behind them hovereda grainy black and white globe in the distant background: planet Earth.

That Christmas Eve, audienceswerewatching the firstlive television broadcast from outer space, by the first human beings ever to escape Earth's gravitational pull and orbit the Moon.

Apollo 8's Frank Borman, James Lovell and William AndersApollo 8's James Lovell, William Anders and Frank Borman, in 1968

In 1968, itthe most watched television broadcast of all time.

Incredibly, Apollo 8 was only the second manned mission of the Apollo space program.

It took them three days to travel to the Moon. While in orbit, they became the first human beings to see the dark side of the Moon with their own eyes.

Having completed 10 orbits and notched-up six full days in outer space, Apollo 8'screw landed safely back on Earth on December 27.

Their mission had been a success - andmajor breakthrough,forPresident John F Kennedy's political goal, to land an American on the Moon by the end of the decade, could now be realised.

Of course, that would be achieved the following year - a fate entwined with the destiny of one of Apollo 8's back-up crew, arespected NASA recruit and Korean War veteran named Neil Alden Armstrong.

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