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Throughout history, mankind has dreamed of touching the stars. With the Apollo program, America turned that dream into reality. This exclusive 12-Part HBO Miniseries Event tells the full story of the Apollo space program, from the 1961 Presidential challenge that inspired it to the 1969-72 lunar voyages that defined it.

HBO
1 Season, 12 Episodes
April 5, 1998
Documentary & Biography, Mini-Series
8.6/10
Cast: Tom Hanks, Nick Searcy, Lane Smith, David Andrews
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From The Earth To The Moon Full Episode Guide

  • The story of the final lunar mission, Apollo 17, is told as a pseudo-documentary set several decades after the fact. Simulated interviews of various characters such as Emmett Seaborn and flight director Christopher C. Kraft Jr., in old-age makeup, are included. The documentary is interspersed with the story of early French film maker Georges Méliès' creation of his vision of a trip to the Moon, the 1902 Le Voyage dans la Lune. Scenes from the original film are merged with the recreation of its filming.

  • Shows the Apollo program from the point of view of the nine wives of NASA's second group of astronauts, from 1962 beyond the end of the program. The burdens placed on them include maintaining a home while presenting a positive image to the news media, shielding their husbands from any family concerns which could affect their position in the flight rotation or ability to return to Earth safely, and comforting each other in the face of tragedies which kill Elliot See and Ed White. The episode is anchored by the Apollo 16 mission, during which recently married Ken Mattingly loses his wedding ring in the Command Module, and Lunar Module pilot Charles Duke finds it while Mattingly is performing a walk in deep space.

  • Scientist astronaut Harrison "Jack" Schmitt, a geologist, persuades his mentor, professor Lee Silver, to train the Apollo astronauts in selecting appropriate rock samples to collect through field experience, rather than the boring classroom lectures NASA has been using. Silver takes the four Apollo 15 prime and backup landing crew members (David Scott, James Irwin, Richard F. Gordon, Jr., and Schmitt) to the southwestern desert, while lunar geologist Farouk El-Baz trains the Command Module pilots (Alfred Worden and Vance D. Brand) in high-altitude recognition of geological features using airplane flights over Hawaii. Schmitt is disappointed to learn his own Apollo 18 flight will be cancelled, but he still believes the training of the other astronauts is vital. It pays off when Scott and Irwin find the "Genesis Rock", originally believed to come from the Moon's primordial crust. The title refers to Scott's reproduction of an experiment proving Galileo's hypothesis that gravity will cause bodies of differing masses to fall at the same rate in a vacuum, by dropping a hammer and a feather.

  • In 1964, while riding high on his fame as America's first man in space and his expected command of the first Gemini mission, Alan Shepard is suddenly struck with Ménière's disease, characterized by vertigo and nausea. Flight operations director Deke Slayton must ground him, but offers him the job of chief astronaut, effectively making Shepard Slayton's assistant as supervisor of all the astronauts. A few years later, a surgeon tries an experimental surgery which cures Shepard's symptoms, and he is returned to the flight rotation, commanding Apollo 14 in early 1971, which accomplishes Apollo 13's failed Fra Mauro landing. Shepard brings a six-iron golf club head on board, which he fastens to a soil-collecting tool handle and uses to hit a ball "for miles and miles".

  • The story of the Apollo 12 second lunar landing mission is told by Lunar Module Pilot Alan Bean. Bean, the last member of NASA Astronaut Group 3 to fly in space, narrates his experience with the tightly-knit, all-Navy crew commanded by Gemini veteran Pete Conrad, and accepts with humor and grace his responsibility for the failure of the first color TV camera on the lunar surface, and for almost fracturing his own skull by failing to properly secure the Command Module's TV camera before splashdown.

  • A dramatization of the Apollo 11 first Moon landing in Mare Tranquillitatis ("Sea of Tranquility") is interspersed with flashback sequences of Emmett Seaborn's television interview with the crew of Neil Armstrong, Lunar Module pilot Buzz Aldrin, and Command Module pilot Michael Collins.

  • Returns to 1961, and NASA engineer John Houbolt's lonely fight to convince management that the easiest way to land men on the Moon will be to use a separate landing craft employing lunar orbit rendezvous. It then traces the design and development of the Lunar Module by a team led by Grumman engineer Tom Kelly. Covers the selection and training of the first crew to fly it, James McDivitt and Rusty Schweickart (along with Command Module pilot David Scott), and culminates with their first flight of Spider in Earth orbit on Apollo 9. The Apollo 10 lunar "dress rehearsal" is briefly mentioned.

  • Depicts Apollo 8's historic first crewed lunar flight, as the redemption of an otherwise strife-torn year filled with political assassinations, war, and unrest. Documentary footage of the turbulent political events are interspersed with the drama, which is mostly filmed in black and white except for scenes aboard the spacecraft and some color newsreel footage. The fears of mission commander Frank Borman's wife Susan of the possibility of her husband dying in a spacecraft trapped in lunar orbit are highlighted. Includes the Apollo 8 Genesis reading.

  • Portrays the tragedy of the Apollo 1 fire from the perspective of its subsequent investigation by NASA and the US Congress. Its effects on key individuals are shown, including Harrison Storms of North American Aviation, Joseph Shea of NASA, astronaut Frank Borman charged with supporting NASA's investigation, and the widows of Gus Grissom, Ed White and Roger Chaffee.

  • Covers the early years of the United States' "Space Race" with the Soviet Union, including the creation of NASA and the decision to send men to the Moon. Provides an overview of the Mercury and Gemini programs, concentrating on reconstructions of Alan Shepard's pioneering Freedom 7 Mercury flight; Ed White's first US spacewalk on Gemini 4, the near-disastrous in-flight failure during Neil Armstrong's and David Scott's Gemini 8 mission; and the successful completion of Gemini with Buzz Aldrin's perfection of extravehicular activity on Gemini 12.

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