Rosen Committee studies in November and December indicated that the most flexible choice for Apollo was the Saturn C-4, with two required for the earth orbit rendezvous approach or one for the lunar orbit rendezvous mission, with a smaller landed payload. The panel rejected solid motors again, but Rosen himself still pushed for Nova. An extra F-1 engine was 'slid in' for insurance, resulting in the Saturn C-5 configuration. The Manned Space Flight Management Council decided at its first meeting that the Saturn C-5 launch vehicle would have a first stage configuration of five F-1 engines and a second stage configuration of five J-2 engines. The third stage would be the S-IVB with one J-2 engine. It recommended that the contractor for stage integration of the Saturn C-1 be Chrysler Corporation and that the contractor for stage integration of the Saturn C-5 be The Boeing Company. Contractor work on the Saturn C-5 should proceed immediately to provide a complete design study and a detailed development plan before letting final contracts and assigning large numbers of contractor personnel to Marshall Space Flight Center or Michoud. References: 16 .
Second attempted launch of Cosmos 63S1 small launch vehicle.
North American delivered CM boilerplate (BP) 3, to Northrop Ventura, for installation of an earth-landing system. BP-3 was scheduled to undergo parachute tests at El Centro, Calif., during early 1963. References: 16 .
USAF Suborbital test of ion engine. References: 5 .
Robert C. Seamans, Jr., was sworn in as Deputy Administrator of NASA, succeeding Hugh L. Dryden who died December 2. Seamans would also retain his present position as Associate Administrator for an indefinite period of time.
NASA Administrator James E. Webb administered the oath of office. He had announced in Austin, Tex., on December 10, that President Lyndon B. Johnson had accepted his recommendation that Seamans be named to the number two NASA post. References: 16 .
OSCAR IV was launched piggyback with three United States Air Force satellites. The launch vehicle had a partial failure and placed the spacecraft in a low orbit preventing widespread amateur use. Orbit 29120 x 168 km. Inclination 26.8 degrees. Period 587.5 minutes. Weight 18.1 kg. Four monopole antennas. OSCAR IV was built by the TRW Radio Club of Redondo Beach, California. It had a 3 Watt 10 kHz wide linear transponder (144 MHz uplink and 432 MHz downlink). In operation until March 16, 1966. Re-entry April 12, 1976. Total operation 85 days. OSCAR IV provided the first US-Soviet amateur link. References: 2 , 5 , 6 .
Soft landed on Moon 24 December 1966 at 18:01:00 GMT, Latitude 18.87 N, 297.95 E - Oceanus Procellarum. The petal encasement of the spacecraft was opened, antennas were erected, and radio transmissions to Earth began four minutes after the landing. On December 25 and 26, 1966, the spacecraft television system transmitted panoramas of the nearby lunar landscape at different sun angles. Each panorama required approximately 100 minutes to transmit. The spacecraft was equipped with a mechanical soil-measuring penetrometer, a dynamograph, and a radiation densitometer for obtaining data on the mechanical and physical properties and the cosmic-ray reflectivity of the lunar surface. It is believed that transmissions from the spacecraft ceased before the end of December 1966. References: 1 , 2 , 5 , 6 , 64 , 296 .
Apollo 8 (AS-503) was launched from KSC Launch Complex 39, Pad A, at 7:51 a.m. EST Dec. 21 on a Saturn V booster. The spacecraft crew was made up of Frank Borman, James A. Lovell, Jr., and William A. Anders. Apollo 8 was the first spacecraft to be launched by a Saturn V with a crew on board, and that crew became the first men to fly around the moon.
All launch and boost phases were normal and the spacecraft with the S-IVB stage was inserted into an earth-parking orbit of 190.6 by 183.2 kilometers above the earth. After post-insertion checkout of spacecraft systems, the S-IVB stage was reignited and burned 5 minutes 9 seconds to place the spacecraft and stage in a trajectory toward the moon - and the Apollo 8 crew became the first men to leave the earth's gravitational field.
The spacecraft separated from the S-IVB 3 hours 20 minutes after launch and made two separation maneuvers using the SM's reaction control system. Eleven hours after liftoff, the first midcourse correction increased velocity by 26.4 kilometers per hour. The coast phase was devoted to navigation sightings, two television transmissions, and system checks. The second midcourse correction, about 61 hours into the flight, changed velocity by 1.5 kilometers per hour.
The 4-minute 15-second lunar-orbit-insertion maneuver was made 69 hours after launch, placing the spacecraft in an initial lunar orbit of 310.6 by 111.2 kilometers from the moon's surface - later circularized to 112.4 by 110.6 kilometers. During the lunar coast phase the crew made numerous landing-site and landmark sightings, took lunar photos, and prepared for the later maneuver to enter the trajectory back to the earth.
On the fourth day, Christmas Eve, communications were interrupted as Apollo 8 passed behind the moon, and the astronauts became the first men to see the moon's far side. Later that day , during the evening hours in the United States, the crew read the first 10 verses of Genesis on television to earth and wished viewers "goodnight, good luck, a Merry Christmas and God bless all of you - all of you on the good earth."
Subsequently, TV Guide for May 10-16, 1969, claimed that one out of every four persons on earth - nearly 1 billion people in 64 countries - heard the astronauts' reading and greeting, either on radio or on TV; and delayed broadcasts that same day reached 30 additional countries.
On Christmas Day, while the spacecraft was completing its 10th revolution of the moon, the service propulsion system engine was fired for three minutes 24 seconds, increasing the velocity by 3,875 km per hr and propelling Apollo 8 back toward the earth, after 20 hours 11 minutes in lunar orbit. More television was sent to earth on the way back and, on the sixth day, the crew prepared for reentry and the SM separated from the CM on schedule.
Parachute deployment and other reentry events were normal. The Apollo 8 CM splashed down in the Pacific, apex down, at 10:51 a.m. EST, December 27 - 147 hours and 42 seconds after liftoff. As planned, helicopters and aircraft hovered over the spacecraft and pararescue personnel were not deployed until local sunrise, 50 minutes after splashdown. The crew was picked up and reached the recovery ship U.S.S. Yorktown at 12:20 p.m. EST. All mission objectives and detailed test objectives were achieved, as well as five that were not originally planned.
Mass model of lunar module with docking target remained attached to S-IVB translunar injection stage. References: 279 .
Decree 'On expansion of Work on Research of the Earth's Natural Resources by Space Systems' was issued. References: 474 .
Decree of 21 December 1972 started work on this replacement to the Meteor-Priroda system. The spacecraft was an adaptation of the recoverable Zenit/Vostok spacecraft for remote sensing.
Maximum Altitude - 1510 km. References: 98 .
Replaced Molniya 3-16. Operation of the long-range telephone and telegraph radio communications system in the USSR; transmission of USSR Central Television programmes to stations in the Orbita network and within the framework of international cooperation. References: 1 , 2 , 5 , 6 .
Investigations of the planet Venus and Halley's Comet. The APV-V plasma antenna did not deploy until the first mid-course correction burn. Deployed lander and balloon at Venus on June 14, 1985. The surface experiments of the lander failed to send back data because they were inadvertently switched on at an altitude of 20 km. Apparently high winds activated a G-force sensor that was to automatically switch on the surface package after the jolt of touchdown. The bus continued in heliocentric orbit and rendezvoused with comet Halley on March 9, 1986. The images of the comet were nearly lost when a television sensor failed shortly before the flyby. A back-up sensor was activated just in time. Fitted with scientific apparatus and equipment built in the USSR, Austria, Bulgaria, Hungary, German Democratic Republic, Poland, France, Federal Republic of Germany and C zechoslovakia. References: 1 , 2 , 5 , 6 , 67 , 274 , 428 .
Mir Expedition EO-03. Carried Musa Manarov, Anatoly Levchenko, Vladimir Titov to Mir; returned crew of Soyuz TM-5 to Earth. Orbits 168 x 243 km, 255 x 296 km, 333 x 359 km. Docked with Mir 12:51 GMT 23 December. 30 December moved to forward port. Undocked 06:18 GMT 17 June 88. Recovered June 17, 1988 10:13 GMT. Landed 202 km from Dzehezkazgan. References: 1 , 2 , 6 , 51 .
Despite collapse of the nose fairing and near-desctruction of the payload, the launch vehicle continued on to place the wreckage of Optus-B2, and the Star-63F Kick-Motor into low earth orbit. References: 1 , 2 , 5 , 6 .
Geosynchronous. Stationed over 47.0E References: 4 .
Measured the integrated solar energy output from 0.2 to 2 microns. Carried instrument deleted from Terra spacecraft.
Korean Multipurpose Satellite; carried an ocean color sensor developed by TRW and particle detectors. KOMPSAT was built by the Korean Aerospace Research Institute (KARI) based on a test model built by TRW; it used the TRW STEP Lightsat bus and had a mass of around 500 kg, with 73 kg of hydrazine fuel.
Burial satellite containing cremated human remains.