Bharat Express

Apollo 8 Astronaut William Anders Perishes In Plane Crash

Anders, a US Naval Academy graduate, and Air Force pilot joined NASA in 1963 and manned Apollo 8 in 1968, capturing iconic photographs and playing a key role in the first moon landing

William Anders

William Anders

William Anders, a retired astronaut who captured the ‘Earthrise’ photo during NASA’s Apollo 8 mission, died on Friday after a small plane he was piloting crashed in Washington state.

Anders, 90, was the only person aboard the aircraft when it crashed off the coast of Jones Island, part of the San Juan Islands archipelago between Washington and Vancouver Island, British Columbia. He was at the controls of a vintage Air Force single-engine T-34 Mentor.

William Anders, a US Naval Academy graduate and Air Force pilot, joined NASA in 1963 as a part of the third group of astronauts. He went into space on December 21, 1968, on the first crewed mission to leave Earth orbit and travel 240,000 miles (386,000 km) to the moon.

Anders was the rookie on the crew, alongside Frank Borman, and James Lovell, who had flown with Borman on Gemini 7 in 1965 and later commanded Apollo 13.

Apollo 8 was pushed forward due to concerns about Russians accelerating their moon trip plans by the end of 1968. During the flight, Anders captured an iconic photograph of Earth rising over the lunar horizon. He also played a key role in reading from the Book of Genesis while transmitting lunar surface images to Earth.

The three astronauts were greeted as national heroes and Time magazine’s ‘Men of the Year’. Their mission led to the first moon landing by Apollo 11, ensuring the U.S. victory in the Cold War space race with the Soviets.

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