When the United States eventually returns to space after the shuttle program is retired next year, Ã¢â‚¬Å“we can go back to the moon and on to other planets,” Apollo 8 astronaut William A. Anders said at the Museum of Flight in Tukwila recently.
Anders, a retired major general in the US Air Force Reserve, was keynote speaker at a private luncheon hosted by the museum and the Seattle Symphony honoring the Apollo missions. It was held on the 40th anniversary of the launch of Apollo 12 Ã¢â‚¬â€œ the second mission to land men on the moon.
In remarks given between symphonic works at the concert, Anders, the lunar module pilot on the Apollo 8 mission Ã¢â‚¬â€œ the first manned lunar orbit mission, recalled that President Kennedy, determined Ã¢â‚¬Å“to demonstrate that America was not second rate Ã¢â‚¬Â¦ and would not lose the missile gap,Ã¢â‚¬Â would land a man on the moon by the end of the 1960s.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“And that was done,Ã¢â‚¬Â added Anders, whose reflection on the Apollo 8 mission, “We came all this way to explore the moon, and the most important thing is that we discovered the Earth,” has become a famous quote.
Even more famous are his pictures, the first taken of the earth from the moon, including Ã¢â‚¬Å“Earthrise,Ã¢â‚¬Â which he took on Christmas Eve, 1968:
Ã¢â‚¬Å“The space program today,Ã¢â‚¬Â he said at the Museum of Flight, “has had some spectacular flights Ã¢â‚¬Â¦ and spectacular successes with the space shuttle. But the shuttle will be grounded next year.Ã¢â‚¬Â
Now NASA is working on new space vehicles, and with the vision of companies like Boeing and leaders like Bill Allen, the long-time CEO of the aerospace giant, the United States Ã¢â‚¬Å“will go back into space.Ã¢â‚¬Â