|This article is a stub, and may need more information. You can help Space Wiki by expanding it.|
Originally planned as a low Earth orbit Lunar Module/Command Module test, the mission profile was changed to the more ambitious lunar orbital flight in August 1968 when the Lunar Module scheduled for the flight became delayed. The new mission's profile, procedures and personnel requirements left an uncharacteristically short time frame for training and preparation, thus placing more demands than usual on the time, talent, and discipline of the crew.
After launching on December 21, 1968, the crew took three days to travel to the Moon. They orbited ten times over the course of 20 hours, during which the crew made a Christmas Eve television broadcast in which they read the first 10 verses from the Book of Genesis. At the time, the broadcast was the most watched TV program ever. Apollo 8's successful mission paved the way for Apollo 11 to fulfill U.S. President John F. Kennedy's goal of landing a man on the Moon before the end of the decade.