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BBC – Future – The Nasa mission that was broadcast to a billion people

It is 21 December 1968, 7.50m, Cape Kennedy, Florida. The Apollo team – Frank Borman, Jim Lovell and Bill Anders – are attached to their shirts, about 110 meters (363 feet) above the ground at the top of their first Saturn 5 – the most powerful tool ever built. As the final ones are broken down to & # 39; launching, there is little to say and a little else they can do. There are about four million liters of fuel burning down. The BBC's television reporter is helpful to help "sit on the same as a big bomb".

There are two reasons for concern. During the previous trial of Episode 5, a few months earlier, concepts and armies shortly after being killed would be killed on board. Although the rocket has changed, Borman's wife has been warned by Nasa that her husband still has a 50/50 chance left her intent.

The fulfillment of the 5 Saturn rocket is not the only thing that causes Nasa's rule to worry. Apollo 8 is the best of the first ones – a big jump on the race to take a man on his / her; moon. This is the first specialized vessel that will leaving the Earth, the first one to go; left her moon and her & her; The first one to return to the 40,000km / h (25,000 miles) Land that is growing. The mission is to be evaluated by a space organization to influence the Soviet Union for our closest neighbor.

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"A true, heavy decision," said Teasel Muir-Harmony, Apollo Warden at the National Museum of the River and the Spas in Washington DC. "Everyone within the organization knew that it was an incredibly dangerous campaign and there was a lot of criticism, known by the British rhetorician, Sir Bernard Lovell, of the United States United people threaten the lives of people. "

In fact, Apollo 8 did not expect to be as ambitious. It was originally designed as the first test on the Apollo outside the world, but the laird was running late. In addition, the CIA warned that there was information that the Soviets suggested that going to try their own plane around her & # 39; Moon (you can read how close they were here.

"Everyone can forget that it was not a search engine or scientific discovery in the Apollo program, a battle in the Cold War. "," Said Borman, "and we were War War Warers."

Despite how good & # 39; He was a leader, and after just four months of intensive training, Borman, who was a military pilot, said he was never in any doubt the purpose of the mission was successful.

"It was our duty to change our resolution to bring the moon into effect by the end of the decade, President Kennedy promised," said Borman. "In my opinion the mission was very important not only to the US but to free people everywhere."

With the engines burning and running; count down at zero, Saturn 5 will slowly lift from the button and its; accelerate into the clear blue sky of Florida. "I was feeling like we had a thread," said Borman. "The sound influenced the power of power – I felt that I was going for the trip, rather than controlling anything."

We looked down and there was a moon – Frank Borman

"It's very hard to breathe, almost impossible to move and your eyes are arranged so that you can get a tunnel," he says. Remember, "it's an unusual feeling."

Eight minutes later they are in an orbit. After half a half, they burn the engine and split the third level of the rooster away from the ground to attack it; moonlight. Then, two days and 402,000 kilometers (250,000 miles) later, at 8.55 GMT at Christmas Eve, Borman will carry out the burns essential on the Apollo service model that has been installed by the " spaceboat to orbit around moonlight.

"I think we put the engine something like four minutes to get enough down to get into the white orbit," Borman is a "#; remember. "I'm about three quarters of that route and we looked down and there was a moon there."

The team is a & n; first people can be seen outside their own Moon. "I do not think that anything I learned about preparing for the very tough nature of the surface of the moon – it was abolished," said Borman. "It was very difficult with holes, clay, volcanic cold, and so it was a great insight into a different world."

And not just a glimpsed look of moonlight. It's about 75 hours and 48 minutes to enter the mission, and Anders is a shows the Earth's blue marble rising above moon lunar and scratching for a color film to capture it.

"The difference between the Moon and the beautiful Blue Land is very spectacular, the Earth is the only thing in the entire Earth-shaped Earth," said Borman. "You see the white clouds, the brown pink divisions … we're very lucky to stay on this planet."

A mission made as a dangerous test of bringing human technology and bravery to turn to a # 39; Feeling sorry for the people involved. The Earthrise image would not be published to return the Apollo 8 to Earth but for Christmas 1968 there is another donation of the crew for his / her; planet.

"Before the flight, Nasa's public affairs officer told Borman that they were billions of people – a quarter of the world's people – to come to the broadcast Their Christmas Eve has a Christmas Eve from lunar lunches, "said Muir-Harmony. "More people would hear the broadcasting the voice of anyone else in history and just wanted something to say."

The three of us and our wives try to do it – we can not – Frank Borman

"That's one of the most spectacular minds of a free country," said Borman. "Can you imagine what the Soviets had been up, we would talk about Lenin and Stalin and we just want to do something right."

But getting forward with "something appropriate" was far from easy. "We tried to do the three of us and our wives," said Borman. "We can not."

He turned to a friend, who today asked the spokesman's war spokesman, Joe Layton. "As I understand it, he was sitting all night and cast a scary paper away when his wife walked, and his wife was a French challenger, she said why not start at the beginning ? "

With the television cameras moving, and how the spacecraft was in. It's going to rise on a Christmas Eve floor (USA), the team begins to read from the Genesis Book. "Initially …" to start Anders. Borman decided to broadcast with "good night, good luck, happy Christmas and God bless you all, all of you on the good ground."

"We were very sure the most appropriate thing was to be done, since there is a huge awareness of me, at least, that the Earthquake is bigger than all of us," said Borman. "It's too ordered and it's too hard to create a divine form."

But the resolution is far from each other. On Christmas Day, Borman is fired again to leave the orbits. "The burn was brought into the outside of the moon, out of the surface – if it failed, I would still divide it to moonlight ".

"Notify, Santa Claus!" Leave Lovely when they re-establish a connection to the ground. And Santa is even delivered. Covered in wild ribbanes that are specially designed, the team will present today from confidence in confidence: Turkish dinner with gravy.

"[Our boss] Deke Slayton also circulated three broadband shows on board but we did not drink that, "said Borman." I did not want to be blamed for anything that & # 39; go wrong, and we took it home. "

It expanded the boundaries of human knowledge, it influenced the way in which we value the Earth and their place in; Humanity – Teasel Muir-Harmony

"I do not know what happened to me," he says. "Maybe it's worth a lot of money now."

On 27 December, the crew returned to Earth – bending so close to the target in the # 39; Chuan Sèimh which the revival boat needed to move from the way. It was a very good head; for a perfect mission, the final confirmation that the player pays to fly to his / her.

"It was not only a great knowledge and engineering achievement in Apollo 8," said Muir-Harmony, "expanded the end of human experiences, influenced the way we put respect the Earth and their place in Humanity. "

For Colonel Borman, at 90 who was still a strong warrior in the Cold War, his last success was his ultimate mission to America gets a step closer to its Moon.

"I'm honest with you, I do not think about the Apollo 8 legacy," he tells me. "In fact, after Apollo 11 it was successful [in landing men on the Moon], I did not have any interest in the program. I went together to help fight with a battle in the & # 39; Cold War and we won. "

To hear more from Frank Borman, Apollo 8 and astronauts talk about Genesis and their own religious knowledge, listen to the Richard & Radio 3 program broadcast on 22 December: Message from the moon

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