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Apollo 8: Go for TLI (1969)

Hardin-Simmons University Library

Sound | 1968 | 1969

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  •  Inside the Mission Control Center at the Manned Spacecraft Center in Houston 
  •  View of Earth from space 
  •  Live television transmissions 
  •  Lunar Orbit Insertion 
  •  Images of the Moon’s surface 
  •  Christmas Eve message 
  •  Trans-Earth Insertion 
  •  Christmas dinner in space 
  •  Reentry and splashdown 
  •  Celebrations ensue 
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Launched December 21, 1968, the Apollo 8 mission took humans closer to the Moon than ever before. Apollo 8 boasts a number of firsts and records: the farthest from Earth humans had flown, the first time we orbited the Moon, the fastest speed (25,000 mph on reentry) humans had flown, and the closest, live television pictures of the Moon’s surface. This government film takes us through all of the details of the Apollo 8 mission from liftoff to splashdown, featuring the voices of not only mission control in Houston but also the astronauts as they explain what they are doing, what they are seeing, and how they feel about their journey.
As the scope of the American space program grew, NASA’s Space Task Group realized it would need to expand into its own facility if it were to successfully land a man on the Moon. In 1961, the agency’s selection team chose a 1,000-acre cow pasture in Houston, Texas, as the proposed center’s location site, owing to its access to water transport and commercial jet service, moderate climate, and proximity to Rice University. In September 1963, the facility opened as the Manned Spacecraft Center (MSC). 
The Center became the focal point of NASA’s manned spaceflight program, developing spacecraft for Projects Gemini and Apollo, selecting and training astronauts, and operating the Lunar Receiving Laboratory. Beginning with Gemini 4 in June 1965, MSC’s Mission Control Center also took over flight control duties from the Mercury Control Center at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. As a result, the facility managed all subsequent manned space missions, including those related to Projects Gemini and Apollo, the Apollo Applications Program, the Space Shuttle Orbiters, and the International Space Station.
In 1973, the MSC was renamed in honor of the late President and Texas native Lyndon B. Johnson. (As Senate Majority Leader, Johnson sponsored the 1958 legislation that established NASA.) The Center continues to lead NASA’s efforts in space exploration, training both American and international astronauts, managing missions to and from the International Space Station, and operating scientific and medical research programs.