William Alison "Bill" Anders (born October 17, 1933), (Maj Gen, USAFR, Ret.), is a former United States Air Force officer, electrical engineer, nuclear engineer, NASA astronaut, and businessman. Anders, along with Apollo 8 crewmates Frank Borman and Jim Lovell, is one of the first three persons to have left Earth orbit and traveled to the Moon. He was also the U.S. Ambassador to Norway from 1976 to 1977 under President Gerald Ford.
October 17, 1933 |
British Hong Kong
|USNA, B.S. 1955
AFIT, M.S. 1962
|Rank||Major General, USAFR|
Time in space
|6d 03h 00m|
|Selection||1963 NASA Group 3|
|Retirement||September 1, 1969|
Anders was born on October 17, 1933, in British Hong Kong, to U.S. Navy Lt. Arthur F. Anders (d. 2000) and Muriel Adams Anders (d. 1990). The family moved to Annapolis, Maryland, where Lt. Anders taught mathematics at the U.S. Naval Postgraduate School. After that, the Anders returned to China, but Muriel and Bill escaped to the Philippines after the Japanese attacked Nanking. They escaped by troop train to Canton; eating Campbell's soup boiled in a bucket for sustenance. The hotel they stayed at was 200 yards from the river the Japanese were bombing, the same river they would have to travel down to escape. Their ship was the first to go down the river after the Chinese had mined it.
He was active in the Boy Scouts of America where he achieved its second-highest rank, Life Scout. Anders attended St. Martin's Academy and graduated from Grossmont High School in La Mesa, California, in 1951.
He received a Bachelor of Science degree in Electrical Engineering from the United States Naval Academy in 1955, and a Master of Science degree in Nuclear Engineering from the U.S. Air Force Institute of Technology at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio, in 1962. Anders completed the Harvard Business School's Advanced Management Program in 1979.
Anders married Valerie Hoard in 1955. The couple have four sons and two daughters: Alan (born February 1957), Glen (born July 1958), Gregory (born December 1962), Eric (born July 1964), Gayle (born December 1960), and Diana (born August 1972). They reside in Washington.
Air Force service and NASA careerEdit
Following graduation from the U.S. Naval Academy, Anders took his commission in the U.S. Air Force. After receiving his pilot wings in 1956, he served as a fighter pilot in all-weather interceptor squadrons of the Air Defense Command in California and in Iceland, where he participated in early intercepts of Soviet heavy bombers who at the time were challenging America's air defense borders. While at the Air Force Weapons Laboratory in New Mexico, he was responsible for technical management of nuclear power reactor shielding and radiation effects programs.
He has logged more than 8,000 hours of flight time.
In 1963, Anders was selected by NASA in the third group of astronauts. While at NASA, he became involved in dosimetry, radiation effects, and environmental controls. He was the backup pilot for the Gemini 11 mission. Then in December 1968, he flew as Lunar Module Pilot for the Apollo 8 mission, the first mission where humans traveled beyond Low Earth orbit. This flight was the first to reach the Moon and also the first to orbit the Moon. Anders took a celebrated photograph of an Earthrise. He served as the backup Command Module pilot for the Apollo 11 mission, before accepting an assignment with the National Aeronautics and Space Council, while maintaining his astronaut status.
From 1969 to 1973, Anders served as Executive Secretary for the National Aeronautics and Space Council, which was responsible to the President, Vice President and Cabinet-level members of the Council for developing policy options concerning research, development, operations and planning of aeronautical and space systems.
On August 6, 1973, Anders was appointed to the five-member Atomic Energy Commission, where he was lead commissioner for nuclear and non-nuclear power R&D. He was also named as U.S. Chairman of the joint U.S./USSR technology exchange program for fission and fusion power.
Following the reorganization of national nuclear regulatory and developmental activities on January 19, 1975, Anders was named by President Ford to become the first chairman of the newly established Nuclear Regulatory Commission, which is responsible for nuclear safety and environmental compatibility. At the completion of his term as NRC chairman, Anders was appointed Ambassador to Norway and held that position until 1977. He then ended his career with the federal government after 26 years and began work in the private sector.
Anders briefly served as a fellow of the American Enterprise Institute, then joined General Electric in September 1977. As Vice President and General Manager of GE's Nuclear Products Division in San Jose, California, he was responsible for the manufacture of nuclear fuel, reactor internal equipment, and control and instrumentation for GE boiling-water reactors at facilities located in San Jose and Wilmington, North Carolina. He also oversaw GE's partnership with Chicago Bridge and Iron for making large steel pressure vessels in Memphis, Tennessee. In August 1979, Anders began attending Harvard Business School's Advanced Management Program. On the first day of 1980, Anders was appointed General Manager of the GE Aircraft Equipment Division. Headquartered in Utica, New York, the division included more than 8,500 employees in five locations in the northeastern U.S. Its products included aircraft flight and weapon control systems, cockpit instruments, aircraft electrical generating systems, airborne radars and data processing systems, electronic countermeasures, space command systems, and aircraft/surface multi-barrel armament systems.
In 1984, he left GE to join Textron as Executive Vice President for aerospace, and two years later became Senior Executive Vice President for operations. In 1990, Anders became Vice Chairman of General Dynamics, and on January 1, 1991, its chairman and Chief Executive Officer (CEO). He retired in 1993, but remained Chairman until May 1994.
Anders was a consultant to the U.S. Office of Science and Technology Policy, and was a member of the Defense Science Board and the NASA Advisory Council. He is a retired Major General in the USAF Reserve.
He established the William A. Anders Foundation, a philanthropic organization dedicated to supporting educational and environmental issues. The foundation was a primary sponsor of the American Experience episode "Race to the Moon." The foundation also founded the Heritage Flight Museum in 1996 in Bellingham, Washington; Museum moved to Skagit Regional Airport in Burlington, WA in 2014; Anders serves as its President and until 2008 was an active participant in its air shows.
In 2011, Anders spoke at the first Starmus Festival in the Canary Islands, delivering a lecture on the early American space program. His talk was published in the book Starmus: 50 Years of Man in Space.
Anders is a member of Tau Beta Pi National Engineering Honor Society, American Nuclear Society, American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, and Society of Experimental Test Pilots.
Awards and honorsEdit
- Air Force Distinguished Service Medal
- Air Force Commendation Medal
- NASA Distinguished Service Medal
- Nuclear Regulatory Commission Distinguished Service Medal
- National Geographic Society's Hubbard Medal for Exploration
- Collier, Harmon, Dr. Robert H. Goddard and General Thomas D. White USAF Trophies
- American Astronautical Society's Flight Achievement Award
- Inducted into the International Space Hall of Fame (1983)
- Inducted into the U.S. Astronaut Hall of Fame (1997)
- American Defense Preparedness Association's Industry Leadership Award (May 1993)
- Inducted into the National Aviation Hall of Fame (2004)
In popular cultureEdit
A recording of Anders, made during the Apollo 8 lunar orbit, on December 24, 1968, reading from the Bible (Genesis, Chapter 1) is included on the first track ("In The Beginning") of the Mike Oldfield album The Songs of Distant Earth, with verses repeated again in the second track "Let There Be Light". This recording is also sampled in VNV Nation's Genesis, the seventh track on their Futureperfect album.
Anders also appeared in the 2005 documentary Race to the Moon, which was shown as part of the PBS American Experience series. The film, renamed in 2013 as Earthrise: The First Lunar Voyage, centered on the events that led up to NASA's Apollo 8 mission.
Anders is interviewed in a chapter of the book No More Worlds to Conquer by Chris Wright. The chapter is roughly evenly split between his life in Apollo and his later corporate life. The book's front cover is the famous Earthrise image taken by Anders.
Anders appeared with fellow NASA astronauts Frank Borman and Jim Lovell on the C-Span book review, Rocket Men. He confirmed the story that he had fallen asleep while awaiting the Apollo 8 launch.
- Pace, Eric (2000-08-31). "Arthur F. Anders, 96, Hero Aboard U.S. Gunboat in 1937". The New York Times. Retrieved 2012-11-08.
- Freeze, Di (April 1, 2007). "Bill Anders: A Love of Afterburners". Airport Journals. Retrieved March 15, 2015.
- Newland, James (2010). La Mesa. Arcadia Publishing. p. 109.
- "Maj. Gen. William A. Anders". Heritage Flight Museum. Archived from the original on October 30, 2012. Retrieved October 12, 2016.
- "William A. Anders (Major General, USAF Reserve, Ret.)". NASA Johnson Space Center. December 2014. Retrieved October 10, 2016.
- Judd, Ron (December 7, 2012). "With a view from beyond the moon, an astronaut talks religion, politics and possibilites". The Seattle Times. Retrieved October 12, 2016.
- "Remarks by the President at the National Academy of Sciences Annual Meeting". WhiteHouse.gov. April 27, 2009. Archived from the original on June 3, 2015.
- "Lunar Module pilot on Apollo 8, the first mission to circumnavigate the Moon". nmspacemuseum.org. New Mexico Museum of Space History.
- ""The First Earthrise" Apollo 8 Astronaut Bill Anders recalls the first mission to the Moon". The Museum of Flight. Retrieved October 13, 2016.
- "Starmus Festival and Stephen Hawking Launch the Book 'Starmus, 50 Years of Man in Space'". PR Newswire. September 7, 2014.
- "U.S. Astronaut Hall of Fame". Astronaut Scholarship Foundation. Retrieved October 13, 2016.
- "Come With Us to Washington DC for the induction of the Class of 2018! - National Aviation Hall of Fame". National Aviation Hall of Fame. Retrieved 2018-06-18.
- "From the Earth to the Moon Full Cast and Crew". IMDB. Retrieved November 24, 2016.
- Frank Borman; Jim Lovell; Bill Anders (1968-12-24). "1968 Apollo 8 reading Genesis". Retrieved 2014-01-31.
- Arthur C. Clarke (1994). The Songs of Distant Earth (Mike Oldfield vinyl LP cover). Warner Music UK Ltd. 4509-98581-1.
- Kertscher, Kevin Michael (October 20, 2005). "The Making of 'Race to the Moon': Apollo 8 Documentary Producer Tells All". Space.com. Retrieved November 16, 2016.
- "Anders' Game". Euromoney. June 2015. Retrieved November 16, 2016.
- "Rocket Men'". c-span. April 2018. Retrieved June 20, 2018.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to William Anders.|
- Astronautix biography of William Anders
- Appearances on C-SPAN
- William Anders on IMDb
- US Air Force biography of William Anders
- American Experience, Race to the Moon
Thomas R. Byrne
|United States Ambassador to Norway
Louis A. Lerner