Milojko Vucelić

Jun 11, 1930 - Sep 7, 2012(82)

Apollo 8

How Milojko convinced the Americans that they could go to the moon.

However, Vucelic, believing that the aircraft was technologically developed enough, persistently convinced the program managers that he could continue. He believed that a huge amount of money and other available resources should not be spent on another mission that did not achieve the goal of the American Space Agency. Namely, the space race was tight at that time. It was said that the Russians were already planning to send cosmonauts on a flight around the moon. If their most advanced spacecraft had not exploded, they would have been the first to reach Earth's closest celestial body.

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The Americans had an advantage because they had Vucelic in their agency, cautious when needed, but also full of initiative when he sees an opportunity with a likely positive outcome. Vucelic managed to convince the management that the team is fully prepared to maintain the mother ship in case of malfunctions and that all systems are ready to operate. This was proven to him by the continuous monitoring of the eleven-day mission of Apollo 7. He considered that Apollo 8 was ready to leave Earth's orbit.

Despite the fact that the moon flies at a speed of 60 miles per second at which the spacecraft must intercept it, despite the fact that in such an endeavor every second can be fatal and despite the fact that on that second depends not only incredibly expensive and unique equipment, but also life crew of three - on Christmas 1968, the whole world watched their blue-green home in front of their screens. During that mission, the spaceship circled the moon as many as ten times in twenty-four hours, and the crew celebrated their success by reading from the Book of Genesis. The broadcast of the mission was the most watched television broadcast up to that time, and the happy return of the astronauts home, modestly and without media attention from the Houston Tower, was ensured by Vucelic.

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