How many astronauts orbited or went around the moon and saw Earthrise?

Am I correct in the conclusion that nine missions orbited the moon or used a free-return trajectory around the moon, Apollos 8, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17?

enter image description here Earthrise from Apollo 8.


2 Answers 2


24 people have gone around the Moon on nine Apollo missions (8, 10-17). 3 of those 24 were repeat visitors. I'm not sure if Apollo 13 saw the sight you describe, but all of the others surely did. Apollo 13 only had one chance, and they probably had other things on their minds at that time. Although according to the official transcript, someone said "That view out there is fantastic!" just after AOS (Page 410), so they probably did at least glance out the window at Earth Rise time.

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Well, Lovell did see an Earthrise on Apollo 8, leaving only Swigert and Haise. Sadly I don#t have a copy of Lost Moon at hand right now. $\endgroup$
    – Polygnome
    Jul 20, 2020 at 12:41
  • $\begingroup$ Good point, forgot to look up which of the Apollo 13 crew had also had a chance. $\endgroup$
    – PearsonArtPhoto
    Jul 20, 2020 at 14:20
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    $\begingroup$ Page 326 of this transscript shows discussion of photos they are taking e.g. of tsiolkovsky crater. So I think its likely they all at least glimpsed at an earthrise, even when they had more important stuff to do. $\endgroup$
    – Polygnome
    Jul 20, 2020 at 21:10

I concentrate on Earthrises documented by Hasselblad images. The Apollo 8 earthrise image is part of the question.

An Apollo 10 CM photo AS10-27-3888 called Earthrise from lunar orbit.

enter image description here

Earthrise as seen from the Apollo 11 CM AS11-44-6547:

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Another Apollo 11 image AS11-37-5441 taken from the LM:

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So we got earthrise images from both the Apollo 11 LM and CM.

Apollo 12 LM image AS12-47-6885:

enter image description here

Apollo 13 did not enter into a full lunar orbit, they did no photos of an Earthrise.

From LM 14 in lunar orbit AS14-66-9228:

enter image description here

A very special Earthrise AS15-97-13268:

enter image description here

Earthrise with CSM seen from the LM AS16-113-18287:

enter image description here

The CM in the orientation shown could not see the Earth.

Apollo 17 CM with the docked LM AS17-151-23188:

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The Earth is only visble to the astronauts in the CM but not in the LM of mission 17 when this image was taken.

So we got Earthrise images by every Apollo mission in full lunar orbits: 8, 10, 11, 12, 14, 15, 16, 17. But it is not documented if all astronauts took their chance to see it.

As PearsonArtPhoto wrote three astronauts did two missions.

All images from ALSJ NASA Apollo Lunar Surface Journal.

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ The question to me seems to be asking how many people saw an earthrise, rather than how many missions captured an image of one. Did every commander and Lunar Module pilot see earthrises or only the Command Module pilots? $\endgroup$ Jul 20, 2020 at 12:28
  • $\begingroup$ Did the LM astronauts all orbit the moon once? $\endgroup$ Jul 20, 2020 at 12:30
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    $\begingroup$ @Speedphoenix The return-to-Earth burn is done on farside. Every astronaut was on board for that final Earthrise no matter what they did at the moon. $\endgroup$ Jul 20, 2020 at 20:36
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    $\begingroup$ Several lunar orbits were done before the LM descent phase, so the entire crew would have had several observation opportunities on all the lunar missions except 13. $\endgroup$ Jul 20, 2020 at 21:58

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