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A Victory in Space


On Christmas Eve 1968, NASA’s Apollo 8 became the first spaceship carrying astronauts to enter the moon’s orbit. Author JEFFREY KLUGER documents the remarkable journey in his new book, To the Moon!

At the time of the launch, the United States was going through a rough period. Martin Luther King Jr. and presidential candidate Robert Kennedy had been killed, and the nation was at war in Vietnam. But with the Apollo 8 mission, many Americans grew hopeful. “We were able to do one great thing, which was to get these astronauts out to the moon and prove that the U.S. could do something grand,” Kluger told TFK.

While researching the book, Kluger, a science writer for TIME, listened to tapes recorded on board Apollo 8. He enjoyed it when Commander Frank Borman told the other astronauts to stop taking pictures of the moon and go to bed. “It was very funny to hear how these space heroes were being scolded and sent to bed by the camp counselor,” Kluger says.