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Episodes include:

1. THE ROCKETEERS Before NASA, the rocket plane was the preferred route to space.
The history of the X series of aircraft, from Chuck Yeager’s Bell X-1 – the plane that broke the sound barrier - to the men (including Neil Armstrong) who flew into space and back aboard the X-15.
2. THE LAST EMPTY SKY The development of the rocket: 1920 to 1957
Robert Goddard’s underfunded, largely ignored 1920s development of liquid-fueled rockets parallels Werner Von Braun’s civilian rocket club, which ultimately created Hitler’s V2 rockets. At war’s end, Von Braun and fellow captured scientists were invited to continue their experiments at America’s White Sands Missile Range - using their own left-over V2s. Von Braun and his engineers chaffed under Eisenhower’s orders to avoid launching their rockets into space even as Russia’s Chief Designer, Sergei Korolev, secretly prepared to launch Sputnik into orbit.

3. THE HIGH GROUND The race to launch something – anything into orbit
Reaction to Sputnik finally spun the American program into high gear. The resulting race between America and Russia – and the even nastier competition between the Army and the Navy for the first missile launch. The Space Task Group is formed at Langley AFB to solve the problem. Early Army/Navy rivalry led to a very public failure, the Navy’s explosive Vanguard satellite attempt, followed by Von Braun’s successful launch of Explorer One aboard a surplus Army missile. Missile Range Number One at Cape Canaveral is slowly transformed into America’s first spaceport.

4. MERCURY RISING The race to launch the first human into space
While Mercury astronaut-candidates underwent history’s most thorough series of physical and mental tests at Albuquerque’s Lovelace Clinic, Soviet Chief Designer Sergei Korolev was readying Yuri Gagarin for the first launch to earth orbit - a flight he had to parachute home from.

5. MISSILES TO THE MOON Kennedy issues the challenge
With less than fifteen minutes experience in space, America sets out on a program to land on the moon within the decade. As their Mercury flights continue, NASA starts figuring out how to achieve this impossible goal.

6. THE LEARNING CURVE NASA invents space travel with Project Gemini
It was a program thrown together out of surplus nuclear missile parts and re-designed Mercury capsules to teach work and survival skills in space. Buzz Aldrin, Jim Lovell, Neil Armstrong and others learned long term zero-G endurance, rendezvous, docking and space-walking skills, while living in pairs for up to two immobile weeks at a time in a smaller space than the interior of a VW Beetle.

7. "GO FEVER!" The aftermath of Apollo One puts NASA on track for the moon
In the wake of the pad fire the astronauts assume more control over their missions as a new Apollo program takes shape. NASA prepares to launch Wally Schirra’s three man crew in Apollo 7.

Von Braun and his team prepare to launch their masterpiece, the 6 million pound, 25,000 MPH Saturn Five moon rocket. The program takes a disastrous turn as three astronauts are killed in a routine pre-launch test. The causes – and lessons – of Apollo One.

9. "WE CHOOSE TO GO TO THE MOON…" The slow and painful birth of the first true spaceship, and a Christmas voyage around the moon
Work slowly progresses on the Lunar Module, a two-man tinfoil spacecraft light enough to carry men to the surface of the moon. Unexpected delays in the completion of the LM prompt a radical and dangerous change in NASA mission plans, as Apollo 8 – a Command/Service Module combination without the Lunar Module lifeboat is sent into Lunar orbit on Christmas Eve, 1968. The LM is successfully tested in low-earth orbit, the moon landing beckons.

10. "BEFORE THIS DECADE IS OUT" Apollo 11 and the first steps on the moon
What it finally took - from near-fatal crashes in the Lunar Lander Training Vehicle and the Apollo 10 rehearsal flight to the disaster that prematurely ended the Soviet lunar program - to bring Armstrong and Aldrin to the surface of the moon - live on TV.

11. THE UNIVERSE STRIKES BACK Apollo 11 had been a near miss. 12 and 13 were near-disasters
Apollo 12 is struck by lightning two minutes after lift-off. The crew manages to save their powerless craft and laughs about it all the way to the moon. Apollo 13 suffers an explosion and multiple system failure that nobody anticipated, 200,000 miles from home and heading in the wrong direction. Told from the perspective of the flight and mission controllers who brought them back alive. Plus - the return of America’s first astronaut, Alan Shepard, the man who golfed on the moon.

12. THE LUNAR LAB The development, deployment and results of the Apollo Lunar Experiments
Ensuring Kennedy’s challenge would be more than a walk on the moon, NASA, in conjunction with teams from the U.S. Geological Survey and numerous universities, set out to do real science in an incredibly harsh laboratory. The story of the "J" missions, Apollo 15 through 17, as told by Gene Cernan – the last men to walk on the moon.


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