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Last updated on April 19, 2014 at 9:20 EDT

Space Station Crew Marks First Human Moon Trip 40th Anniversary

December 18, 2008

The International Space Station crew, paving the way for NASA’s return to the moon, will honor the first humans to journey there 40 years ago with a special message.

Expedition 18 Commander Mike Fincke and Flight Engineers Sandy Magnus and Yury Lonchakov will pay homage to that bold December 1968 voyage in a message that will air on NASA Television as part of the daily Video File, beginning at 11 a.m. CST, Friday, Dec. 19. The video also will be broadcast in high definition on the NASA TV HD channel at 10 a.m., noon and 3 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 19, and Tuesday, Dec. 23.

Apollo 8 astronauts Frank Borman, Jim Lovell and Bill Anders roared into space on the first flight of the massive Saturn V rocket on Dec. 21, 1968. They became the first humans to circumnavigate the moon on Dec. 24, 1968, and returned safely to Earth three days later. Their mission demonstrated the ability of the Saturn V and the Apollo command and service modules to cross the 238,000-mile gulf between Earth and the moon, and set the stage for the first human lunar landing six months later.

Image Caption: North American Rockwell artist’s concept depicting the Apollo Command Module, oriented in a blunt-end-forward attitude, re-entering the earth’s atmosphere after returning from a lunar mission. Note the change in color caused by the extremely high temperatures encountered upon re-entry. (NASA)

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