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Apollo 8 was the second manned spaceflight mission in the United States Apollo space program. It launched on December 21, 1968, and became the first manned spacecraft to leave low Earth orbit, reach the Earth's Moon, orbit it, then return safely to Earth. The story behind the mission and the timetable the project was completed in make for a compelling drama, including Cold War intrigue, the Space Race, and NASA pushing the bounds of science and engineering.
Larry Owens is Professor Emeritus in the History Department at UMass Amherst. He earned his first Ph.D in Biochemistry from Rutgers in 1972 and his second in the History of Science from Princeton in 1987. His research interests include a variety of American topics from the history of engineering, the laboratory as a workplace, mathematical machinery and computers as cultural artifacts, and, most generally, the relationships between science, technology, and culture.