This is a photograph of the Apollo 8 Capsule being hoisted onto the recovery ship following splashdown on December 27, 1968. The first manned Apollo mission to escape Earth’s gravity and travel to the lunar vicinity, the Saturn V, SA-503, Apollo 8 mission liftoff occurred seven days prior, on December 21, 1968. Aboard were astronauts William Anders, Lunar Module (LM) Pilot; James Lovell, Command Module (CM) pilot; and Frank Borman, commander. The mission achieved operational experience and tested the Apollo command module systems, including communications, tracking, and life-support, in cis-lunar space and lunar orbit, and allowed evaluation of crew performance on a lunar orbiting mission. The crew photographed the lunar surface, both far side and near side, obtaining information on topography and landmarks as well as other scientific information necessary for future Apollo landings. All systems operated within allowable parameters and all objectives of the mission were achieved.