Apollo 8 Astronaut and ‘Earthrise’ Photographer William Anders Passes Away at 90

William Anders, an Apollo 8 astronaut, has passed away at the age of 90. In 1996, Anders, along with his wife Valerie, founded the Heritage Flight Museum in Bellingham, Washington.

William Anders
Apollo 8 Astronaut William Anders passes away at 90.

William Anders, an Apollo 8 astronaut renowned for capturing the iconic “Earthrise” photograph, has passed away at the age of 90, NASA administrator Bill Nelson announced on Friday.

During the historic Apollo 8 mission on Christmas Eve in 1968, Anders photographed the striking image of Earth rising above the moon’s surface while in lunar orbit.

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“Bill Anders gave humanity one of the greatest gifts an astronaut can offer. By venturing to the edge of the Moon, he enabled us to see ourselves in a new light. He embodied the true spirit and purpose of exploration. He will be deeply missed,” Nelson stated.

The Apollo 8 mission, the first manned Apollo flight launched aboard the Saturn V rocket, and the first to enter lunar orbit, included Commander Frank Borman, Lunar Module Pilot William Anders, and Command Module Pilot James Lovell.

Anders, a 1955 graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland, later served in the U.S. Air Force and earned a master’s degree in nuclear engineering from the Air Force Institute of Technology at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in 1962.

In late 1963, Anders was selected from thousands of applicants to join NASA’s Astronaut Corps, becoming one of just 14 men chosen that year, as noted by the Heritage Flight Museum.

In 1996, William Anders, along with his wife Valerie, founded the Heritage Flight Museum in Bellingham, Washington.

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In 1969, President Richard Nixon appointed Anders as executive secretary of the National Aeronautics and Space Council.

Apollo 8 was Anders’ only mission to space.

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