The Race to the Moon
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This History Channel production brings you actual NASA footage revealing every step of each Apollo space mission. It's all here in breathtaking cinematography-from the first Apollo space mission to the historic moon landing to the tense moments encountered by the crew of Apollo 13 . 2 DVDs. 2004/color-b&w/5 hrs/NR/fullscreen.
From the Back Cover
On July 20, 1969, Neil Armstrong took man's first steps on the moon. Roughly one billion awestruck people watched the lunar landing on television, but very few realized how close it came to disaster.
THE RACE TO THE MOON combines top programming from A&E and THE HISTORY CHANNEL. to deliver the ultimate 35th anniversary celebration of this world-changing event. Experience the ultimate insider's view of the Apollo space program by the man who served as NASA's primary flight director for over 30 years and examine recently declassified documents revealing NASA's plans to send men to Saturn by 1970. Take a nostalgic trip with Mike Wallace back to the early days of the space program, and return to the present-day triumphs and tragedies of one of our greatest technological achievements--the Space Shuttle. This 2-volume DVD set features the following programs:
Failure Is Not An Option: Retired NASA Flight Director Gene Kranz recalls the "whiz kid" atmosphere of the space program's early days and the exploits of the astronauts who took our dreams to the moon.
Modern Marvels: Apollo 13: An unexpected disaster leaves the crew of Apollo 13 lost in space. In many ways, this failed moon mission is one of NASA's finest moments.
History Undercover: Code Name: Project Orion: Explore the grand dreams of the top-secret US space program in the 1950s. Renowned physicists like Freeman Dyson discuss visions of battleship-sized rockets and spaceships hitched to comets.
Modern Marvels: The Space Shuttle: The complete story of the shuttle, from its conception in the 1950s to its triumphant launch in 1981. Plus, an exclusive peek at the next-generation space shuttle, the futuristic X-33.
- Four programs: Failure Is Not an Option, Code Name: Project Orion, Modern Marvels: Apollo 13, Modern Marvels: The Space Shuttle
- Commentary by NASA Mission Control flight director Gene Kranz, writer-producer-codirector Rushmore DeNooyer, and editor-coproducer Tony Bacon on Failure Is Not an Option
- Photo gallery
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Much of the documentary footage has been seen before, but the interview footage of Kranz and others involved in Apollo is extremely well done and is frequently more emotional than might be expected (especially when discussing Apollo 1 and Apollo 13.) The Apollo 11 landing (program alarm) drama is told better here than anywhere else I have ever seen, and really underscores the value of the training program NASA had in place for Apollo (especially the simulator training.)
There is no doubt that the Kranz piece is the reason to buy this set, though the rest of the material is also interesting. If you have any interest in manned spaceflight whatsoever, you will love this set, especially "Failure is not an Option."
I have the original series on VHS (recorded from the H channel) which I was looking to replace with the DVD set. The quality of the program itself is outstanding and well worth repeated views (that's why I wanted it on DVD...); I was just disappointed that Part 2 has to be bought separately.
As for the features on Disc 2, they're interesting enough and certainly worth watching, but not up to the same level as the "Failure" feature. I also find it odd that there's a commentary track *for a documentary* which seems unusual. To me, it would have made more sense to package Parts 1 & 2 together, instead of Part 1 with a series of 3 only semi-related extra features. Nonetheless, good quality programming that tells the story of the US space program mainly from the perspective of the engineers and flight controllers (as opposed to the equally-good "Moonshot" that is told more from the Astronaut's perspective). Enjoy!
The second DVD contained 3 features, CODE NAME:PROJECT ORION, Apollo 13, and The Space Shuttle. These features were not handled as well as the first DVD topic but were still of interest. I especially enjoyed Project Orion which treated the early efforts to harness fission bombs to propell a hugh manned spacecraft. This project was cancelled but remains an interesting topic in space history. (3 stars)
These materials scored an overall 4 star average with this space fan.
Project Orion was mildly entertaining and interesting and the Space Shuttle segment was not that great. I have not seen Apollo 13 yet but it doesn't matter because Failure is Not an Option is worth it's weight in gold.
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These videos made me proud of America's achievements in science,intellectual...Read more