When Apollo 8 took off for its lunar orbital flight in 1968, the United States had become an “old hand” at flying in orbit around the earth. But this mission was something special. This mission was the first time that humans would venture away from earth on a new rocket that had never even been successfully tested in the way it was to be used. It was the first time that a manned mission would venture away from the orbit of the earth and some 238,000 miles away. New techniques and equipment meant new risks and potential tragedies. It was bold, courageous, and very dangerous. After liftoff, there was a point where the crew fired a rocket that inserted them into a trans-lunar voyage. After the rocket was fired, they were on their way-all the way to the moon. The problem was that after a point when the commitment was made to go for the moon, there was no turning back. The crew would have to travel all the way to the moon before they could turn around and traverse back to earth.