Featured in our monthly newsletter The Stafford Transmission.
The Stafford Air and Space Museum is filled with a huge collection of extraordinary artifacts representing the history of manned spaceflight. Many of these artifacts are small, innocuous looking pieces that can easily be overlooked by our visitors, but, in actuality have great human stories associated with them.
A good example is a coiled white cloth covered cable on display in the Apollo Gallery. Labeled as a “CCU Cable,” this was an important component of one of the most historic voyages in the history of human exploration.
In December 1968, NASA launched the Apollo 8 mission to the moon. Crewed by astronauts Frank Borman, Jim Lovell, and Bill Anders, this high risk mission would be the first time that humans would attempt to break away from Earth’s gravity and fly to another world. On the way out on their quarter of million mile journey to the moon, the astronauts turned their cameras back toward their home planet, and for the first time, humans saw the complete sphere of the Earth illuminated against the unimaginable vastness of the universe. All of a sudden, people no longer saw our planet as a group of warring, selfish nations, separated by manmade boundaries, but as a tiny, fragile, sobering, awe-inspiring experience that led to some of the greatest cultural, religious, political, and scientific enlightenments and reexaminations in the history of mankind. It was a watershed moment for the human species.
As they watched views unfold before them that no human had ever seen before, the astronauts struggled to describe through their radio communication what they were seeing to everyone on Earth. Those historic communications were all passed to the spacecraft cables worn by each astronaut. The cable displayed at the Stafford Museum is one of the actual cables used by the Apollo 8 astronauts during their historic mission.
“We came all this way to explore the Moon, and the most important thing is that we discovered the Earth,” Bill Anders