The twelve episodes follow the Apollo space program from a variety of viewpoints: (1) "Can We Do This?" maps the origins of Apollo and its Mercury and Gemini roots; (2) "Apollo 1" tells of the tragic fire and the subsequent finger-pointing; (3) "We Have Cleared the Tower" portrays the intense preparation for Apollo 7; (4) "1968" puts Apollo 8 into its historical context against events of the era; (5) "Spider" shows the engineering POV through the design, building, and testing of the LEMs with Apollos 9 and 10, (6) "Mare Tranquilitatis" shows the deeper considerations behind the historic Apollo 11 lunar landing; (7) "That's All There Is" portrays the camaraderie of the Apollo 12 crew; (8) "We Interrupt This Program" shows a by-now-indifferent media galvanized by the events of Apollo 13; (9) "For Miles and Miles" tells of Alan Shepherd's return to the manned program with Apollo 14 after being grounded between Mercury and Gemini; (10) "Galileo Was Right" show the non-piloting demands on ... Written by
The lunar module (LM) seen in several episodes up close, is in fact a real lunar module. It was originally scheduled to go to the Moon as part of the Apollo 18 flight; NASA budget cuts forced Apollo 18's cancellation, but the LM was saved and eventually used in filming this miniseries. It is now enshrined in a museum. In some episodes, we can see a bus-like craft which takes the astronauts from NASA down to the pad at Cape Kennedy just prior to launch. This bus is also the real thing, which the real astronauts all used. See more »
In the "1968" chapter, we see a TV reporter broadcasting with a massive picture-window view of the Saturn 5, and then feeling the shock wave from engine ignition just before the window falls in. The view is from 1/4 mile SE of pad 39A, a dangerously close point for anyone. The press site is 3.1 miles west of the pad. Also, the incident happened to Walter Cronkite at the Apollo 4 launch, Nov. 9, 1967. The launch depicted here (coinciding with the King assassination) is Apollo 6 on Apr. 4, 1968. See more »
[During a NASA briefing]
Rendezvous: two spacecraft meeting up in orbit. Want to have fun? Come over to my house. You stand in the back yard, I'll stand in the front, you throw a tennis ball over my roof and I'll try to hit it with a rock as it comes sailing over. That's what we're going to have to do.
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The definitive chronicle of the American Space Program.
Until the movie Apollo 13 came to the screen, many were unaware, or had forgotten of that event, or of the many facets, the visions, the energies that made up the American Space program in the 1960s. A program with a dictate set forth by President Kennedy: to get men to the moon, and return, safely, before the end of the decade.
This 12-hour (12 x one-hour segments) tribute is the personal mission of two-time Academy Award winner Tom Hanks, a man with a childhood love for the astronauts and the space program, and a man with enough clout to get this big-budget extravaganza made.
Each segment is in and of itself a story, each with a different point-of-view on the major aspects of the program. Certainly the main events-the first manned flight, the Apollo 1 fire, the lunar landing, the Apollo 13 emergency, are all there. But quite differently than what we've seen previously, here we have an opportunity to relive much of the day-to-day, aspects-the politics, the personalities, the emotions, of many, many of the key individuals. The astronauts, the engineers, the administrators, the news people, the wives-they all get wonderfully recognized.
Since I'm about the same age as Mr. Hanks, I admit to being a space freak myself as a youngster-at the time these events actually happened. At that time I waited every week, for Time, Newsweek and Life magazine to give me the pictures, and accounts of the activity at NASA.
It's oh so appropriate to have this wonderful tribute to this important piece of American history.
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