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45 of 45 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Understanding Apollo from the engineering side
To date, this short series is the best work yet produced by the Science Channel.

Unlike most programs dealing with space flight, this series is about engineers rather than astronauts. Seeing the cleverness that went into the different elements of Apollo should make you proud of your species.

The producers interviewed many of the surviving project...
Published on June 22, 2009 by David J. Delaurant

versus
0 of 9 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars The Boeing Company not mentioned in the Saturn V segment
The first segment, the Saturn V first stage, does not mention one word that it was the Boeing company that designed, manufactured, tested and delivered 20 vehicles to the Kennedy Space Center in Florida. All of this engineering work was done in the subburbs of New Orleans and not Huntsville, Alabama. This DVD is recording history and it is sad that the Boeing company...
Published 21 months ago by Loretta March


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45 of 45 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Understanding Apollo from the engineering side, June 22, 2009
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This review is from: Moon Machines (DVD)
To date, this short series is the best work yet produced by the Science Channel.

Unlike most programs dealing with space flight, this series is about engineers rather than astronauts. Seeing the cleverness that went into the different elements of Apollo should make you proud of your species.

The producers interviewed many of the surviving project directors and engineering team leaders, including then-and-now photos, a nice touch! Specific problems and their eventual solutions are described using language suited to a general audience, yet not insulting to their intelligence. Even the musical score is noteworthy.

For me, the episode on the lunar rover is easily worth the cover price by itself, but the lunar suit comes a very close second.
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33 of 33 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant, July 11, 2009
This review is from: Moon Machines (DVD)
What makes this collection of documentaries so fascinating and wonderful is firstly they focus on the technical side of the greatest human engineering feat ever achieved, secondly the stories are told by the engineers who were actually involved.
Each episode discusses the designs, trials and tribulations, and final culmination or 'moment of truth' when the system was utilized in the missions. The engineering detail is very good for a documentary and far better than anything I have seen before. The footage is also very good quality and fascinating.
The best thing however, is the people. In explaining the program they show a great deal of humility, intelligence, sometimes humour, and then there are moments where they explain what the stress, long hours and problem solving was doing to their personal lives, and finally they come to terms with their achievement.
If you are an engineer, scientist, or are of a technical disposition you will find this inspirational. There should be more documentaries like this.
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32 of 35 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The far side of the moon landing, July 23, 2009
This review is from: Moon Machines (DVD)
As one who had the great good fortune to see these magnificent machines in action, I am very glad to see this sory by the men who made them. If you enjoyed "In the Shadow of the Moon" or "From the Earth to the Moon" DVD's you will love this one! This DVD is the perfect complement to "Apollo" by Charles Muray and Catherine Bly Cox.I also highly recommend "Angle of Attack" by Mike Gray that tells the inside story of North American Aviation's incredible problems in developing the second stage of the Saturn V - the incomparable S-II-C. "Apollo" by Murray and Cox was published 20 years ago, and it is a delight and just a superb account of how we went to the Moon in 8 years and 2 months after JFK hurled his challenge to the country and at the Soviets. This incomparable book tells the story through the people that solved unsolvable problems. This DVD actually has them telling the story in their own words. Of particular interest to the connoisseur is the seldom told tale of Apollo 4, and the near-disaster of Apollo . The sleuthing of the problems of Apollo 6 is still a tour de force of root cause analysis. The very next Saturn V that was launched after this near failure went to the Moon carrying Apollo 8. The human stories retold in this DVD make the unbelievable event come alive. For those of you who, alas, did not live through this incredible period - this DVD is a good tase of what it was like.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars As Good As It Gets, September 12, 2009
By 
Michael Burton (Columbus, OH USA) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Moon Machines (DVD)
Years ago, I heard or read one of the Apollo astronauts deflecting hero worship. I don't remember which astronaut it was, and I certainly don't remember his exact words, but what he said was essentially this: "I'm just an ordinary man. I can't walk on the moon. But there were thousands of people who designed, built and operated these amazing machines that were capable of carrying human beings to the moon and bringing them back safely, and I was just lucky enough to be one of the guys who got to take that ride."

Though he certainly understates the contribution of the astronauts themselves, he's right about the thousands of people on the ground. This series of six programs looks at the machines and the men and women behind them: the Saturn V rocket, the guidance computers, the command and service module, the lunar module, the lunar rover, and the space suits.

I've been a space nut for a long time, but almost everything here is new to me. The programs are packed with information, from unseen archival film and interviews with the people who did the work. Production values are absolutely first-rate. I've seen a lot of documentaries about Project Apollo, and this is one of the best. I watched it all in a single sitting, and at the end of each episode, I caught myself saying aloud, "This is GREAT!"

I couldn't recommend it more highly.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of my favorites, April 14, 2011
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This review is from: Moon Machines (DVD)
Six-part documentary on six of the systems that were part of the Apollo Moon Project:

1) Saturn V Rocket
2) Command Module
3) Navigation Computer
4) Lunar Lander
5) Space Suit
6) Lunar Rover

Each episode contains commentaries by a dozen or so of the original Engineers/Managers/Technicians who worked on the specific systems, interspersed with videos relevant to the commentaries. Each episode captures at least 2 or 3 of the "problems" that had to be overcome to develop each of these critical systems, and captures the "most critical" and "high point" of the Apollo Mission, from the perspective of those who worked on the individual systems.

I watch these documentaries over and over... the Saturn V episode is my favorite.

It is my opinion that the way in which the Lunar Lander episode depicts that Von Braun "finally came around to accept" Houbolt's Lunar Orbit Rendezvous (LOR) was the "only way" to get the moon (within the 10 year goal set by Kennedy) is over-simplified & misleading, and really misses the facts in a number of ways... to see for yourself, one can read an account of Von Braun's own opinion on this subject, in an online article that contains two interviews with Dr. Von Braun (conducted August 25, 1970, and November 17, 1971); in which Von Braun clearly corrects the record on this subject... so, that Robert Seamans & this documentary (made in 2008/2009) would take - in my opinion - an unfair and outdated representation of the situation, apparently cooked up by the press in the late 60's for its "sensationalist" angle, is a bit misleading on this important/main historical subject from that particular episode.

For example:

Sample Excerpt from Interview #1:

In the Apollo Spacecraft Chronology, you are quoted as saying "It is true that for a long time we were not in favor of lunar orbit rendezvous. We favored Earth orbit rendezvous."

Von Braun:
Well, actually even that is not quite correct, because at the outset we just didn't know which route [for Apollo to travel to the Moon] was the most promising. We made an agreement with Houston that we at Marshall would concentrate on the study of Earth orbit rendezvous, but that did not mean we wanted to sell it as our preferred scheme. We weren't ready to vote for it yet; our study was meant to merely identify the problems involved. The agreement also said that Houston would concentrate on studying the lunar rendezvous mode. Only after both groups had done their homework would we compare notes. This agreement was based on common sense. You don't start selling your scheme until you are convinced that it is superior. At the outset, neither Houston nor Marshall knew what was the best approach. And the fact that Houston happened to study the lunar orbit rendezvous mode was purely coincidental. That mode didn't even originate in Houston-it was first proposed by John Houbolt of the Langley Center. The problem with Houbolt's original study was that his weight figures for the lunar module were based on certain operational assumptions that Houston considered absolutely inadequate for the mission. So, as Houston added realistic requirements to the Houbolt scheme it lost a lot of its original charm. In the end, everybody wondered whether the lunar orbit rendezvous mode would still look attractive by the time the necessary realism had been instilled in it.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The human side of fantastic machines, December 27, 2012
This review is from: Moon Machines (DVD)
What makes this series of documentaries special is that they show the human side of the quest to reach the moon. No astronauts, grizzled flight controllers or pundits here, this series highlights the engineers who sweated the details. Old men now, they look back fondly on an adventure to which they devoted large parts of their lives - with pride, awe, and occasional sadness, especially when they talk about the Apollo 1 fire. Rather than make this a fast-paced, slam-bang effort, the film makers will linger on the face of an interviewee after he finishes a sentence, catching a raised eyebrow or a frown, speaking far more than words themselves. As a space enthusiast, I also appreciated the wealth of behind-the-scenes footage unearthed, and how it's not simply used as generic "b-roll" as other producers have done, i.e. showing the wrong type of rocket during liftoffs or using footage shot out the command module window during re-entry to "illustrate" the Apollo 1 fire.

Could we go to the moon today? Probably not, but this series highlights a time when thinking big and doing big was a national goal, and engineers like those featured here dreamed the dreams (and turned the wrenches) that brought Neil Armstrong to the moon in the now so-long-ago. Marvelous!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars very good summary, February 17, 2012
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This review is from: Moon Machines (DVD)
just wish there had been more detail.

Of note, lacking was any details/design info on the backpacks of the spacesuits
or the saturn V Instrumentation ring that guided the rocket stack

Aside from these, very good video.
Science channel, please make a volume II !
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An excellent overview, July 19, 2010
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This review is from: Moon Machines (DVD)
This DVD provides an excellent overview of various systems that contributed to the Apollo lunar landings. It doesn't drop down to the layman level of understanding, yet doesn't reach into the esoteric. It deals with some areas not normally see - such as the Apollo "space suit" - contains some footage that is not widely seen, and is well worth viewing by everyone interested in the history of the Apollo programme.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the best moon landing documentaries, September 10, 2009
By 
ooby (sf bay area, ca) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Moon Machines (DVD)
The material on this documentary is very interesting- worth multiple viewings to understand it all. You'll be saying to yourself "That's how they did it" over and over again. The background music is cool. If you've ever wondered how they developed the major machines needed to make the moon landings possible, this is the best documentary to date. The facts presented put alot of the moon landing hoax theories to rest. My favorite episode is the lunar Rover with the lunar lander in close second. Highly recommended.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful Apollo Documentaries, November 20, 2011
By 
Andrew Collins (Litchfield County, Connecticut) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Moon Machines (DVD)
When the story of Apollo is usually told in a documentary format, it usually focuses on the astronauts themselves and those working in Mission Control. However, in Moon Machines, we get the other angle from the engineers that built the machines.

On a single DVD there are six episodes, each about forty-five minutes long, covering a certain aspect of the Apollo program. These are:

-The Saturn V rocket
-The Command Module
-The Navigation Computer
-The Lunar Module
-The Spacesuit
-The Lunar Rover

Each episode contains interviews from many engineers that worked first-hand on the equipment. They tell the most fascinating stories that accompanied the development of these machines. Also included is a ton of behind-the-scenes footage showing how equipment was initially developed and tested on here on Earth.

I would highly recommend this DVD for those interested in the Apollo program and spaceflight.
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Moon Machines
Moon Machines by Nick Davidson (DVD - 2009)
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