In the Shadow of the Moon

Check this out! I heard about this film a little while ago, and, if the trailer is anything to go by, it will be unmissable. Interviews with most of the nine surviving moonwalkers (although only archive footage of Armstrong) as well as Jim Lovell, who visited the Moon twice on Apollo 8 and 13, intercut with enhanced contemporaneous footage to tell the story of the Apollo race for the Moon. It is on general release in the UK from 02 November.

This is a Ron Howard production. Ron directed Apollo 13, one of my favourite films, largely because of its technical accuracy, but also because the story told is more real than life, if you see what I mean.

The whole Apollo program embodies the best of human endeavour. Only 32 astronauts crewed Apollo spacecraft, but around 400000 engineers and their managers drove the whole show. This team effort is something Apollo 13 shows pretty well, but wasn’t unique to this mission. None of the journeys to the Moon could have happened without the contribution of the whole, massive, team.

The best book I know which deals with the backstage work for Apollo is Apollo, by Charles Murray and Catherine Bly Cox. The stories of the flight controllers, spacecraft engineers, managers, range safety, launch technicians, communications experts, suit makers – you name it – are compelling. How did these (generally) young men do that? You have to buy the book from the authors, but it is worth it. I think I’ve read it 3 times now.

Can America (with Europe/Russia?) repeat the achievement of the 60’s in the twenty-teens? I hope so. Robot missions are great, but robots don’t dream of anything but electric sheep.

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2 Responses to “In the Shadow of the Moon”

  1. Jeff Says:

    There were 33 seats to fly in the Apollo lunar missions. There were 4 repeat astronauts, (Lovell, Scott, Young and Cernen). That makes 29 men to fly Apollo. (not counting ASTP or Skylab)

  2. saturn5 Says:

    You are right of course, Jeff. However, I included Apollo 1 astronauts Grissom, White & Chaffee. I didn’t include Apollo-Soyuz or Skylab, indeed.

    So, 32 crewed Apollo-lunar, 29 flew, 24 reached the Moon, and 12 walked on the surface. That’s right, isn’t it?

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