Apollo 8 Astronaut Dies During Plane Crash

(RepublicanPress.org) – In 1955, US astronaut William Anders graduated from the US Naval Academy in Maryland before joining the Air Force and earning his master’s in nuclear engineering. Eight years later, he was selected by NASA to be an astronaut. In 1968, he flew into space on Apollo 8 and took the famous Earthrise photo from 70 miles off the surface of the moon. Recently, he was in the news for a different reason.

On June 7, Anders was piloting a plane alone over the Pacific when the aircraft went down in the waters off the San Juan Islands near Washington. The astronaut’s son, retired Air Force Lt. Colonel Greg Anders, confirmed his father’s death to The Associated Press. He said his “family is devastated,” adding that his dad was a “great pilot” and conveyed how much they would all miss him. There has been no word about the cause of the crash. The pilot was 90 years old.

The retired major general only flew into space one time but made quite an impact while he was there. The Apollo 8 mission was the first human spaceflight outside of Earth’s low orbit to travel to the moon.

When Anders snapped the photo of the Earth rising, he reportedly switched quickly from black-and-white to color film to capture the wonder of the shot. He exclaimed, “Oh my God, look at that picture over there!” He then commented on how beautiful it was to behold. Anders was also a fighter pilot with the Air Defense Command and served as the executive secretary for the National Aeronautics and Space Council until 1973.

From there, he was the lead commissioner for the Atomic Energy Commission, the US Chairman of technology exchange between the US and USSR, and the US Ambassador to Norway. He served the country for 26 years.

Fellow retired astronaut and Senator Mark Kelly (D-AZ) called Anders an inspiration to him and “generations of astronauts and explorers.”

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