NOTE: Due to his recent passing - this story was updated.

Bill Anders, a Washington resident and former NASA Apollo astronaut, was a household name in the late 1960s. He was born on October 17th, 1933.

On Friday, June 7th, 2024, Bill lost his life. He was flying a T-34 Mentor when it crashed near his home on Orcas Island in the San Juans.

OFFICIAL PORTRAIT OF ASTRONAUT WILLIAM ANDERS
William Anders CREDIT: San Diego Air & Space Museum (via Facebook)
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He was one of three Apollo 8 crew members who read Genesis Chapter 1 - to a national audience on Christmas Eve, 1968 while orbiting the Moon.

Who were the crew members of the Apollo 8?

Frank Borman, Jim Lovell, and Bill Anders would become the first humans to leave Earth’s gravity and orbit around another heavenly object - The Moon.

As the Apollo 8 crew circled the moon 10 times, Bill Anders took one of the greatest pictures of the 20th Century - Earthrise

Earthwise by Bill Anders CREDIT: NASA National Aeronautics and Space Administration (Via Facebook)
Earthrise by Bill Anders CREDIT: NASA National Aeronautics and Space Administration (Via Facebook)
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Apollo 8’s successful mission confirmed to NASA that we could transit to and from the moon and eventually put men on the moon's lunar surface - a half year later.

Post NASA - and into retirement

Bill Anders retired as CEO/Chairman of General Dynamics in 1994. He became a resident of Washington and bought a house on the waterfront in the San Juan Islands. A 2007 article in Airport Journals, mentioned that Bill disliked the winter in the drizzly San Juans, “so he bought a second dwelling in California.” 

In 1996, he founded Bellingham’s Heritage Flight Museum - originally in Bellingham, then relocated to Burlington, Washington, in 2014. 

Since Bill Anders’ Military flight career, he logged over 8,000 hours of flight time.

Until recently, he was the last Apollo astronaut flying. 

Former Apollo 8 NASA astronaut Bill Anders CREDIT: Pat Fitzpatrick (Via Facebook)
Former Apollo 8 NASA astronaut Bill Anders CREDIT: Pat Fitzpatrick (Via Facebook)
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‘He flew two formation demonstrations in a Beech T-34 yesterday at Heritage Flight Museum with Greg Anders acting as flight lead. They looked great in the crystal clear Pacific Northwest sky.’ - Pat Fitzpatrick (via Facebook) 

 

CREDIT: Heritage Flight Museum (via Facebook)
CREDIT: Heritage Flight Museum (via Facebook)
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INFO: Heritage Flight Museum, Pat Fitzpatrick (via Facebook)

LOOK: 31 breathtaking images from NASA's public library

In 2017, NASA opened the digital doors to its image and video library website, allowing the public to access more than 140,000 images, videos, and audio files. The collection provides unprecedented views of space. Stacker reviewed the collection to select 31 of the most breathtaking images, including the first from the James Webb Space Telescope. Keep reading to see these stunning images, curated with further information about the captured scenes.

Gallery Credit: Deborah Brosseau

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