William Anders

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William Alison Anders (born October 17, 1933) is a former United States Air Force officer, NASA astronaut, businessman, and engineer. He is, along with Apollo 8 crewmates Frank Borman and Jim Lovell, one of the first three persons to have left Earth orbit and traveled to the Moon (of only 24 people to date).



Anders was born to Arthur Anders and Muriel Adams Anders in Hong Kong and was active in the Boy Scouts of America where he achieved its second highest rank, Life Scout. Anders attended St. Martin's Academy and Grossmont High School in La Mesa, California. He was born and raised Roman Catholic. However according to one article his outlook on religion changed profoundly after his participation in the Apollo 8 mission. He found his experience of space made a mockery of his beliefs and he gave up religion.[1]

Academic career

He received a Bachelor of Science degree from the United States Naval Academy in 1955 and a Master of Science degree in nuclear engineering from the Air Force Institute of Technology at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio, in 1962. Anders completed the Harvard Business School Advanced Management Program in 1979.

USAF experience

After graduating from the Naval Academy, Anders took his commission in the U.S. Air Force and served as a fighter pilot in all-weather interceptor squadrons of the Air Defense Command. He later was responsible for technical management of nuclear power reactor shielding and radiation effects programs while at the Air Force Weapons Laboratory in New Mexico.

NASA experience

In 1963, Anders was selected by NASA in the third group of astronauts. He became involved in the NASA work in the areas of dosimetry, radiation effects, and environmental controls. He was the backup pilot for the Gemini XI mission; the lunar module pilot for the Apollo 8 mission, the first manned lunar orbit mission, in December 1968. Anders took a celebrated photograph of Earthrise. He served as backup command module pilot for the Apollo 11 mission, before accepting an assignment with the National Aeronautics and Space Council, while still remaining an astronaut.

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