William Alison Anders
(Maj Gen, USAF, Ret.)
(1933 – )
Missions: Apollo 8
Time in Space: 147 hours
NASA astronaut William Alison “Bill” Anders was born on October 17, 1933, in Hong Kong. After graduating from the United States Naval Academy in 1955, he took a commission with the United States Air Force to serve as a fighter pilot. In 1962, Anders earned a Master of Science degree in nuclear engineering from the Air Force Institute of Technology.
Anders began his career with NASA in October 1963 when he was selected to join the third group of astronauts. He first worked in the areas of dosimetry, radiation effects, and environmental controls. Then on December 21, 1968, he flew his first and only space mission: Apollo 8, the first manned lunar-orbital mission. While Anders served as Lunar Module Pilot, the spacecraft did not include the Lunar Module as intended. He nevertheless participated in the first manned lunar voyage, taking hundreds of photographs of both the Moon and the Earth—including “Earthrise,” which Life magazine chose as one of the top 100 photos of the 20th century. In total, Anders spent 147 hours in space.
After leaving the Astronaut Corps in 1969, Anders began working for the federal government in a new way, serving as Executive Secretary for the National Aeronautics and Space Council, Lead Commissioner of the Atomic Energy Commission, Chairman of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, and Ambassador to Norway. He left the federal government in 1977 to pursue a career in business, becoming an executive at several aerospace companies.