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Full Coverage: History airs Kranz' Failure

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Failure is still not an option in TV sequel

August 4, 2005 — Gene Kranz, the former NASA flight director portrayed by Ed Harris in the Oscar-winning film Apollo 13, returns to The History Channel this summer to tell the story of NASA's thirty-five year roller coaster ride in the post-Apollo era.

The sequel to Kranz's biographical documentary, Beyond The Moon: Failure Is Not An Option II premieres Sunday, August 28th at 9:00 p.m. ET/PT on The History Channel.

Beyond The Moon picks up where Failure left off, telling the stories of NASA's more recent flight controllers, "the brave few who choose to push ahead even in the face of doubt, because they believe in their hearts that they have a job to do."

"You have to keep pushing the frontier, not just because it's there, but because that's how we find things that end up changing humanity," said Paul Hill, lead flight director for the STS-114 Return To Flight mission.

According to The History Channel, highlights of Beyond The Moon include:
  • The reactions of Kranz and other veterans to the cancellation of the final Apollo missions and all other planned space endeavors during the Vietnam War;

  • The effort by three astronauts to repair the first U.S. space station, Skylab, using the most technically-advanced piece of equipment available: a telephone-company branch trimmer

  • The changing face of Mission Control in the late 1970s and early 1980s, as the white shirt, narrow tie, pocket-protector wearing men are infiltrated by long hair, sideburns, disco, and "the perhaps most foreign species of all: women"

  • Diplomacy meets science as the United States and Russia put aside cold war differences to collaborate in space -- much to the consternation of many on the American side, until they find common ground at places like Disney World and Kentucky Fried Chicken.

  • The first reusable spacecraft ever built, the Space Shuttle, takes off for the first time, invigorating mission control like never before but also bringing high anxiety due to the unprecedented power and technical precision involved.

  • Footage of Mission Control before, during, and after the Challenger and Columbia accidents, providing glimpses of the raw emotion and the professionalism that continued to shine through in the face of tragedy.
Like the 2003 original, Beyond The Moon: Failure Is Not An Option II is narrated by Scott Glenn (Alan Shepard in The Right Stuff) and produced by Lone Wolf Documentary Group (TBS Moon Shot).

Kranz biopic to air on History Channel

June 4, 2003 — A new documentary based on former NASA Flight Director Gene Kranz's autobiography, Failure Is Not An Option premieres on The History Channel on Tuesday, August 24 at 9:00 p.m. ET/PT.

Produced by Lone Wolf Pictures (TBS Moon Shot) and narrated by Scott Glenn ("Alan Shepard" in The Right Stuff), Failure Is Not An Option provides an insider's view of the engineers in Mission Control.

Kranz's narrative recounts the perspective of the men on the ground during the missions that laid the groundwork for man's journey to the Moon, offering personal insights and stories of behind the scenes struggles, both technical and political.

The triumphs of the Mercury and Gemini missions paved the way, but tragedy struck Apollo 1. Gene Kranz and his controllers share their remembrances of the terrible fire that claimed the lives of three astronauts. In one scene, Kranz and his team struggle with guilt and memories that remain painful 36 years later.

According to The History Channel, Kranz reveals that what appeared to be nearly flawless lunar missions were, in fact, a series of hair-raising near misses.

Kranz shares how he and his team overcame computer freezes and wound up putting astronauts Armstrong and Aldrin down on the Moon with less than 15 seconds of fuel remaining. He also revisits the 'successful failure' of Apollo 13, during which controllers was presented with an explosion in space.

Failure Is Not An Option features on-screen interviews with numerous controllers and astronauts who worked at NASA during the Mercury, Gemini, and Apollo missions, including flight director Chris Kraft and the commander of Apollo 13, James Lovell.

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