Monday, December 20, 2010

``Apollo 8. You are a go for TLI

          ``Apollo 8. You are a go for TLI (Trans Lunar Injection).''  This was the historical message flashed by Michael Collins, who was the first capsule communicator, for the Apollo 8 mission to its crew. The important transmission took place around 8.30 p.m. and 22 seconds (IST). The date: December 21, 1968. The signal meant that officially mission control at Nasa's manned spacecraft centre in Houston, Texas. has given the green signal for Apollo 8 to fly to the moon

           This happaned 42 years ago on December 21,1968 The mission commander was Frank Borman, command module pilot, James Lovell and lunar module pilot, William Anders, The trio lifted off from the Kennedy Space Centre in what turned to be a major path breaking mission to the moon. Though there was some resistance to the plan from top Nasa scientists, including from adminstrator, James Webb, finally they all came around to this challenging and daredevil flight plan, The CIA had stated that the Russians were working on a similar type of mission of going around the moon.

           The main significance of the Apollo 8 flight was that:-

           * It was the first human spaceflight to leave the earth's orbit.
           "  It was the first to be captured by and escape from the gravitational field of another celestial body and the first crewed voyage to return to earth.
           * The crew members became the first humans to directly see the far side of the moon.
           *  It paved the way for first human landing on the moon on July 20,1969.

           After lift off Apollo 8 took three days to fly to the moon and orbited it 10 times in 20 hours. Apart from other important factors, this mission is also remembered for the fact that on Christmas Eve, the crew members read out the first 10 verses from the Book Of Genesis.

           Also who will not remember the famous and beautiful picture of earthrise?  This super shot was taken by Anders and has become the cover of many mags and has been framed and displayed. What a pic? Apollo 8 was one of the most important space missions making Time magazine chose the crew as the ``Men Of The Year,''

             Spacelog, a new website, in a few days will be reproducing the transcripts of entire mission. Wait for it.

           ``Beyond Moon and Mars )BMM)'' is at present a reading called ``Chariots For Apollo--The Nasa History of Manned Lunar Spacecraft to 1969.'' For spacebuffs like BMM, the book is a great buy: packed with details and hitherto unknown spicy accounts of what really went behind planning the first manned landing on the moon---the Apollo 11 mission.

          On one of the pages, a historical invitation has been reproduced which says: ``You are cordially invited to attend the departure of the United States Spaceship Apollo V111 on its voyage around the moon, departing from launch complex 39A, Kennedy Space Centre, with the launch window commencing at seven a.m. on December 21, 1969. The Apollo V111 crew.''

          BMM on Sunday photocopied the invite to a larger size, had it laminated it and is now on display on its room.

          If only BMM had received the real invite in December 1968, said yes to the rsvp and witnessed the grand lift off on December 21,1968  what a memorable moment it would have been,

          You need luck,  This is certain.        



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