In honor of Earthrise, and our next stunning ring (in a long line of super gorg rings lately, amirite?!) hitting the shop today, here’s a little somethin’ about the muse himself, Bill Anders.
Photo Credit: NASA
William Alison Anders, or Bill for short, is a United States astronaut who participated in the historic Apollo 8 lunar flight in December of 1968. This was the first manned voyage to mosey around the Moon, and the time and place for Bill’s iconic “Earthrise” photograph that helped inspire our newest ring. He had this to say about the experience, “We came all this way to explore the Moon, and the most important thing is that we discovered the Earth.”
Along for the ride with Bill were crewmen Frank Borman and James Lovell, all of whom remained in an orbit approximately 112 kilometers (70 miles) above the surface of the Moon for roughly 20 hours. During their ten laps around the Sun’s counterpart, their equipment was transmitting television pictures back to Earth for a Christmas Eve special broadcast.
In order to get to this point in history, Bill had to first attend and graduate from the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland in 1955. From there, he received a commission in the U.S. Air Force, and went on to earn a Master’s Degree in Nuclear Engineering from the Air Force Institute of Technology at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Dayton, Ohio in 1962. Fun fact: We actually have our jewelry there in partnership with the Air Force Museum Foundation!
That next year in 1963, Bill was selected by NASA in the third group of astronauts to come through the program. While at NASA, he became interested in dosimetry, radiation effects, and environmental controls. He was the backup pilot in the Gemini XI mission in 1966 and, following his own spaceflight, served as the backup Command Module Pilot for the Apollo 11 lunar mission in 1969. Something cool: the Anders Crater on the Moon is named in Bill’s honor.
Although Apollo 8 was Bill’s only rendezvous with the Moon, he continued to do big things in the domains of space and humanity. He retired from NASA and the Air Force in 1969 so he could pursue a position as Executive Secretary of the National Aeronautics and Space Council.
Apollo 8 Crew, Photo Credit: NASA
Bill also served as a member of the Atomic Energy Commission (1973-1974) and of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (1974-1976). He was the U.S. Ambassador to Norway (1976-1977), and General Manager for two departments within the General Electric Company: the Nuclear Products Division (1977-1980) and the Aircraft Equipment Division (1980-1984). Furthermore, he held the positions of Vice-President at Textron (1984-1990), and Vice-Chairman (then CEO) at General Dynamics (1990-1994).
During all of the above mentioned career bullet points, Bill also established the William A. Anders Foundation, a philanthropic organization dedicated to supporting educational and environmental issues. The foundation sponsors the Heritage Flight Museum in Bellingham, Washington, of which Bill is the President, and the Museum of Flight (another one of our awesome vendors!) is fortunate to have Bill on their advisory committee.
Museum of Flight in Seattle, WA - Image in Public Domain
As a PSA wrap up: the non-profit Museum of Flight is one of the largest independent air and space museums in the world. Their collection has 150+ historically significant air and spacecraft pieces on display. The Museum’s aeronautical library and archival holdings are the largest on the West Coast. Engaging with the public, more than 140,000 students are served annually through onsite and outreach educational programs, wow! We certainly love developing partnerships with these outstanding organizations, thank you! And hugs to you, Bill, for your solid contributions.