Bill Anders, Apollo 8 astronaut dies

| June 8, 2024 | 10 Comments

William “Bill” Anders in 1964

Bill Anders, a retired USAF major general, retired NASA Astronaut, and the taker of one of the most famous photographs of all time has sadly died. Not exactly in the way usually reserved for men who are 90. Anders went out in a plane crash while flying a T-34 Mentor warbird over the San Juan Islands in Washington State yesterday. Witnesses report the aircraft diving steeply into the water, catching fire, and then sinking.

Anders had only a single space mission, but what a mission it was. He was Lunar Module Pilot (LMP) on Apollo 8. This was the Christmastime 1968 first flight to (and around) the moon. He was thus one of three of the first men to see the far side of the Moon. While there, they read Genesis to Earth in a widely heard radio broadcast.

Since Apollo 8 didn’t have a Lunar Module attached, one of Anders’ jobs was to be the photographer. As such, he took the “Earthrise” photo (above), and also was the likely photographer of the first image taken by anyone of the whole Earth disk. It’s been said that these photos contain all but three people alive or that had ever existed.

Anders had more than 8,000 hours logged as a pilot, and impressively still maintained that status into his 10th decade on Earth. The crash investigation will likely determine whether there was a failure with the aircraft of if Anders had a medical issue prior to the uncontrolled departure from controlled flight. Anders went out with his boots on, as they say, or he died while soaring with the eagles in a vintage warbird. Either is a fitting end for a heroic American trailblazer and explorer.

Category: NASA, Veterans in the news

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5JC

What a life. He was the best among us. So few of them left, Aldrin, Lovell a couple of others. I can’t help but wonder if we will ever see another generation like them.

ANCRN

An excellent life lived, and as good a way to go out as any.

KoB

^THIS^ Since we’re all gonna leave this plane of life, might as well go out doing what you loved to do. Who knows…he may have chosen to go out this way. “…diving steeply into the water…”

Godspeed, Fare Well, and Rest Easy, Good Sir. We Salute you and your Service to our Country.

A Proud Infidel®™

*Slow Salute*

AW1Ed

Fair winds and following seas.

Skivvy Stacker

He no longer needs a spacecraft to travel among the stars.

President Elect Toxic Deplorable Racist SAH Neande

“…Reach out, and touch the face of God.”

Rest in Peace, Sir.

RGR 4-78

Rest in Peace, Sir.

And thanks for the picture of the big blue marble.

FuzeVT

General Anders flew west, doing what he loved.
Step back, slow salute.

Tallywhagger

T-34 Mentors fetch about $1,000,000 per, these days. I have no doubt that he was quite capable of flying one as long as he was able to.

What a career!

Years and years ago I had an elder client who paid me for flight instruction but basically as a safety pilot and set of ears. He was an excellent pilot, just taking precautions, no doubt at his wife’s insistence 🙂

Never had to touch anything though I cannot resist keeping a plane coordinated and will “nudge some rudder” on the tone deaf and dead butts. Unlike with motorcycles, you don’t have to lean-into-the-turns in an aircraft.