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[i]Space historians and journalists have long speculated about the linkage between the Zond flights and the Apollo 8 decision, although most note that the actual decision to send Apollo 8 to the Moon occurred in August 1968, and Paine's announcement was merely the first public acknowledgement of the decision. Even today, over four decades later, that linkage between Soviet actions and the American decision is primarily circumstantial. Most of the evidence consists of either comments by the Apollo 8 astronauts, who were not actually involved in the decision itself but were told about it later, or oral histories. All of the records of the people who were directly involved in the decision point in a different direction.
...The only new piece of information that I found was a forgotten NASA scheduling document indicating that the option of sending Apollo 8 around the Moon had first been proposed in spring of 1968, several months earlier than previous historical accounts had stated, and before NASA or the CIA became concerned about the Soviet Zond flights.
To date, no smoking gun has emerged that directly connects Soviet actions to the Apollo 8 decision. That smoking gun would have to consist of a statement or document directly from someone who made the decision that indicated that the reason was Soviet actions.
...In the case of the Apollo 8 decision, the vast majority of evidence — cohesive, coherent evidence — supports the conclusion reached by Murray and Cox in 1989 that it was lunar module availability and the Apollo schedule, and not the Soviet Zond missions, that led NASA officials to send Apollo 8 to the Moon. This is not to say that the Zond missions were unimportant. They influenced the environment in which the decision was made, and probably made it harder to not fly Apollo 8 around the Moon once the agency's senior leadership started discussing it.[/i]
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