From the author: Valerie has an epiphany. Bill feels tired.
It took two days for Apollo 8 to travel back to Earth. After its tenth lunar orbit, when it fired the SPS engine again for the trans-Earth injection (TEI) burn which would break them free of lunar orbit, it emerged from the dark side of the moon on course for home.
“Please be informed there is a Santa Claus,” Lovell said over the radio. It was Christmas Day, and he was making a joke in reference to Frank Borman’s incessant worrying about the hypergolics not igniting correctly. He had...