William A. Anders, Who Flew on First Manned Orbit of the Moon, Dies at 90

William A. Anders, a former astronaut who flew on the first manned orbit of the moon, has passed away at the age of 90. Anders was a key member of the Apollo 8 mission, which launched on December 21, 1968, and became the first manned spacecraft to leave Earth’s orbit, travel to the moon, and return safely.

Anders was born on October 17, 1933, in Hong Kong to American parents. He joined the U.S. Air Force in 1955 and later became a test pilot. In 1963, he was selected as one of 14 astronauts for NASA’s third astronaut class.

During the Apollo 8 mission, Anders, along with fellow astronauts Frank Borman and Jim Lovell, spent six days in space and orbited the moon ten times. They were the first humans to witness and photograph the Earth rising over the moon’s horizon, a moment that became known as “Earthrise” and is considered one of the most iconic images of the space age.

Anders’ role on the Apollo 8 mission was crucial, as he was responsible for operating the spacecraft’s navigation systems and cameras. He also played a key role in communicating with mission control on Earth and documenting the mission through photography and video.

After his historic mission to the moon, Anders went on to serve as executive secretary of the National Aeronautics and Space Council, as well as the U.S. ambassador to Norway. He later worked in the private sector as an executive in the defense and aerospace industries.

Throughout his life, Anders remained a strong advocate for space exploration and science education. He believed that the Apollo program was a testament to what humans can achieve when they work together towards a common goal.

William A. Anders’ legacy as a pioneering astronaut and advocate for space exploration will be remembered for generations to come. His contributions to the Apollo program and his role in the first manned orbit of the moon have left an indelible mark on the history of space exploration.