JFK issued the historic moon landing challenge. These are the stories of the visionaries who helped America complete his vision with the first lunar landing 50 years ago.
A Companion Book to the AMERICAN EXPERIENCE Film on PBS
Going in depth to explore their stories beyond the PBS series, writer/producer Robert Stone – called one of our most important documentary filmmakers byEntertainment Weekly – brings these important figures to brilliant life.
In 1961, President John F. Kennedy proposed the nation spend $20 billion to land a man on the moon before the end of the decade.Based on eyewitness accounts and newly discovered archival material,Chasing the Moonreveals for the first time the unknown stories of the fascinating individuals whose imaginative work across several decades culminated in Americas momentous achievement. More than a story of engineers and astronauts, the moon landing – now celebrating its 50th anniversary – grew out of the dreams of science fiction writers, filmmakers, military geniuses, and rule-breaking scientists.They include:
Science fiction authorArthur C. Clarke, whose writing inspired some of the key players in the moon race. A scientific paper he wrote in his 20s led to the US beating Russia in one area of space: communications satellites.
Wernher von Braun, the former Nazi military genius who oversaw Hitler’s rocket weapons program. After working on ballistic missiles for the US Army, he was recruited by NASA to manage the creation of the Saturn V moon rocket.
AstronautFrank Borman, commander of the first mission to circumnavigate the moon, whose powerful testimony before Congress in 1967 decisively saved the US lunar program from being cancelled.
Poppy Northcutt, a young mathematician who was the first woman to work in Mission Control. Her media exposure as a unique presence in this all-male world allowed her the freedom to stand up for equal rights for women and minorities.
Edward Dwight, an African American astronaut candidate, recruited at the urging of the Kennedy White House to further the administrations civil rights agenda – but not everyone welcomed his inclusion.
Setting these key players in the political, social, and cultural climate of the time, Chasing the Moonfocuses on the science and the history but, most important, the extraordinary individuals behindwhat was undoubtedly the greatest human achievement of the 20th century.
Narrator: Holter Graham
Duration: 11 hours 58 minutes
Released: 19 Apr 2006
Publisher: Random House Audio