quote: NGC has a mini site for the show:
Two nuclear superpowers reach for the stars in an effort led by a former Nazi scientist and a Soviet prisoner.
Follow Wernher von Braun as he escapes Nazi and Soviet forces to lead U.S. development of rocket technology. The genius rocket scientist also proves to be a brilliant escape artist, as he evades would-be killers to surrender his research and scientists to U.S. forces.
Then, hear the untold story of Sergei Korolev, the Soviet scientist who suffers as a political prisoner and almost single-handedly makes the Russian space program a reality. Denounced by his colleagues, Korolev nearly dies in a brutal Siberian gulag, but lives to eventually be honored as a hero of the Soviet Union.
Thanks to recently declassified documents from the Soviet Union and the United States, we can see the space race as it really was. Veiled behind a desire to reach the heavens, we can now see that the race to space was really an attempt by two superpowers to develop nuclear-capable missiles. Behind this wall of secrets lies a world where scores of Soviet scientists burn to death during a single rocket mishap, and Astronauts ride unpredictable rockets skyward. Both Soviet and U.S. advances stun the world as the first satellites, animals, and people pierce the atmosphere for the first time, and safely—and sometimes not-so-safely—orbit the Earth.
See what it really took to put a man on the moon, and how one small step for man required one giant leap in science and technology.