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  Dangerous Films/Discovery Channel "When We Left Earth" documentary (Page 2)

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Author Topic:   Dangerous Films/Discovery Channel "When We Left Earth" documentary
MCroft04
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posted 06-08-2008 10:23 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for MCroft04   Click Here to Email MCroft04     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Just watched the first episode. Like Robert said more time would have made it better, but it was a great trip down memory lane. I would have liked to have seen Wally given credit for preserving the Gemini 6 mission. I liked the video of the Mercury explosive hatches; that will get your attention. I liked the Neil segments where he showed some enthusiasm as well as Buzz getting some credit for the success of the Gemini 12 EVA. Yes I'll purchase the DVD.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 06-08-2008 10:26 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Random comments about "When We Left Earth" posted by Twitter users:
watching "When We Left Earth: NASA Missions" on Discovery channel. Sometimes I wish I'd chosen to be an astronaut!


loving Discovery's "When We Left Earth"


Just finished watching "When We Left Earth" on Discovery - SIMPLY AMAZING! Catch one of the reruns this week if you can!


When We Left Earth is some of the most amazing TV I've ever seen.


Discovery's NASA: When we Left Earth is AMAZING. Can't wait for the next parts to air.


When We Left Earth is amazing. Well done! I'll be watching next weekend too.

...and it goes on from there, all of similar sentiment. Seems Discovery has a hit...

divemaster
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posted 06-08-2008 10:35 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for divemaster   Click Here to Email divemaster     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
With all of the hype, I expected more. I wasn't dazzled. Then again, there are lots of people out there seeing this footage for the very first time.

However, I WAS glad to see and hear Neil's comments.

And I will watch it next week, too.

They're already advertising the DVD with four extra hours of material. That just seemed strange to air on the first episode.

mjanovec
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posted 06-08-2008 11:39 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for mjanovec   Click Here to Email mjanovec     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The DVD doesn't come out until July, when all of the episodes will have already aired. So, in that respect, it makes sense they would want to advertise the set during the program.

My own opinions on the first two episodes are mixed. On one hand, the footage is beautiful and there are many clips of footage here that I haven't personally seen before...including some clips from the New Nine including some vomit comet shots I haven't seen. As has already been discussed, it's not likely any of this footage is truly "never before seen," but there are bits and pieces that are rarely seen.

My biggest complaints so far are:

  1. The editing seems very manic. They don't stick with any one shot or clip for more than a few seconds. The interview segments are kept very short... taking only a sentence or two from each person at most (and often much less). There doesn't seem to be much effort to tell the story, but instead hit the viewers with lots of sounds and images instead.

  2. As Robert pointed out in his review, the emphasis in this program appears to be on the dangerous aspects of spaceflight. However, I think they go overboard here and try to make everything into a "cliff-hanger" before every commercial break. While spaceflight is a very risky business, I think they don't do well with differentiating between the routinely hazardous and the truly dangerous moments. Instead, they try to turn every moment into an edge-of-your-seat moment of suspense... often criminally downplaying the engineering genius that went into making these missions so successful. The producers seem to want to give the impression that we simply got lucky. (Perhaps a film company that titles itself "Dangerous Films" is an indication of what style they go for.)

  3. The old argument about using incorrect footage at incorrect moments crops up here again. They used Gemini re-entry footage twice in incorrect places... once for the Gemini 3 launch and once during Gene Cernan's Gemini 9 EVA (!!!). Also, they used odd clips of audio in wrong places. As Shepard walks out to his Redstone rocket, the editor obviously felt they needed to overlay some mission control audio for added effect. Did anyone else notice the brief audio clip said "inboard cutoff," which most likely was taken from the launch phase of a Saturn rocket. While it's a nitpicky complaint, little things like this point to yet another lazy effort that just inserts whatever looks or sounds good to fill out the program... instead of sticking to accuracy.
While this program might be a good introduction to spaceflight history for the average person, it fell well short of my expectations... at least in these first two episodes. It will be interesting to see how they treat the moon landings and the shuttle program in future episodes.

mercsim
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posted 06-09-2008 09:19 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for mercsim   Click Here to Email mercsim     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I think we could all pick this apart until the shuttle quits flying...But why? This was a TV production for the masses. It was not put together to satisfy a few thousand (or hundred) space geeks. I'm sure Mark could tell us that there just are not that many hardcore space geeks left from his sales numbers.

I think it has done a great job of reminding people where we have been. I spend some of my retirement time substitute teaching and the kids of today are NOT getting any space history in school. I subbed an American History class a few weeks ago and looked through the book to find the Space history stuff. It was briefly mention ind in the Cold Was era and there was more info in a few photo captions than anything.

Yeah the editing was off a little, or they left cliffhangers for commercial breaks, but overall, it tells the story and might drum up interest in our Space Programs or Engineering.

It sure is easy for us to sit at out computers and trash talk someone else's work. Lets put that energy into showing young people about Space. This show celebrates/references 50 years of Space Flight and has done a pretty good job. Our 50th Manned anniversary is coming up in a few years. What are you doing to celebrate or spread the word....

mjanovec
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posted 06-09-2008 10:34 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for mjanovec   Click Here to Email mjanovec     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by mercsim:
It sure is easy for us to sit at out computers and trash talk someone else's work.

I don't think any of my criticisms of the program were unfair...let alone constitute "trash talk." Plus, I was expressing a personal viewpoint.

There have been other programs for mass audiences that have done better with retaining accuracy while being both inspirational and breath-taking. The recent "In the Shadow of the Moon" is a great example. Even though that program also took some liberties with the footage as well, they managed to get the overall tone right, mixing in a healthy respect for the dangers of spaceflight while not overlooking the brilliant achievement that resulted from the hard work of many people.

One moment that particularly bothered me was in the Gemini episode where they talk about the failure rate of the Titan rockets (showing a Titan I explode on the pad...not even the same rocket the astronauts would later ride). The narrator says:

"Finally, NASA launches two rockets that don't explode. Gus Grissom and John Young will ride the next Titan rocket into space."

That make it seem like NASA was randomly launching Titans until they could get a couple to work right. To me, it demonstrates that the script writer of the program lacked some fundamental knowledge about how NASA operated.

Overall, I am glad that our spaceflight history is again being presented to a wide audience. The more often that is done, the better. But maybe producers of programs like these would be wise to run rough edits by a few space "geeks" first...if only to weed out the worst mistakes and mis-statements. Just because the program is aimed at the masses doesn't mean it needs to be dumbed down for them.

collocation
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posted 06-09-2008 11:44 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for collocation   Click Here to Email collocation     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
After all the intensive hype I was rather disapointed, gave after 1 1/2 of the program. I was expecting more of a PBS/American Experience type of documentary. If it was possible, I think they should have given it more time,there is an awful lot to get in using just three shows

Robert Pearlman
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posted 06-09-2008 12:04 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by mjanovec:
But maybe producers of programs like these would be wise to run rough edits by a few space "geeks" first...
I was told that the script was reviewed by a senior historian for NASA and that agency officials saw a preview before it aired but ultimately it was Discovery's show and NASA did not approve (or disapprove) the program.

ejectr
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posted 06-09-2008 02:02 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for ejectr   Click Here to Email ejectr     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
If I get a chance to see a view of the moon that I never saw before, I could care less if it's out a Gemini window.

Hawkman
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posted 06-09-2008 02:48 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Hawkman   Click Here to Email Hawkman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Robert Pearlman:
Spacecraft Films' DVDs were not involved, but it is a testament to the good work Mark Gray and his team have done on what I am sure was a smaller budget than Discovery's.
I stand humbly corrected.

Hawkman
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posted 06-09-2008 02:51 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Hawkman   Click Here to Email Hawkman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by mjanovec:
The old argument about using incorrect footage at incorrect moments crops up here again. They used Gemini re-entry footage twice in incorrect places...once for the Gemini 3 launch and once during Gene Cernan's Gemini 9 EVA (!!!).
This annoyed me to no end and I KNEW that others here would notice.

onesmallstep
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posted 06-09-2008 05:02 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for onesmallstep   Click Here to Email onesmallstep     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Although all of the comments/reviews so far are valid (especially about the length - if they can devote twelve hours of docudrama for 'From the Earth to the Moon', think of the footage they can air in that period of time!), I still feel it is a good introduction for the interested layman/general public. And if it inspires more people to enter the space program, better yet. The high points for me in the first two episodes were:
  • How primitive mission control looked in the early Mercury flights, with a young Gene Kranz.

  • How important the Gemini flights were to Apollo, especially testing EVAs, rendezvous/docking and long-duration missions. The clear, crisp footage of Ed White during his EVA really took my breath away, even on my 16-inch TV. McDivitt's fond recollections of his good friend White was especially poignant.

  • Any interview with Armstrong, McDivitt and Young, especially since the first two did not participate in the recent 'In the Shadow of the Moon' and 'The Wonder of it All' documentaries.
All in all, a good effort by the Discovery Channel, and I look forward to future episodes...

Robert Pearlman
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posted 06-09-2008 06:05 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
For those looking to order the series on DVD, Discovery has offered collectSPACE readers a good deal (and buying the set through this link helps collectSPACE, too).

NASA Bundle

E2M Lem Man
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posted 06-09-2008 06:17 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for E2M Lem Man     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I too, noted the wrong times for the Gemini re-entry, and was somewhat annoyed at the retelling of Gus's, Glenn's and Carpenter's issues leading to cliff hangers before the commercials - but I got to see these with a lady, who never had the chance to know these missions as well as I.

To see it thru her eyes and hear her comments was refreshing.

While us old hands sometimes forget- for new people coming into space exploration, these shows open the doors to the stars for them.

That said - I HATED the way that Discovery never went into the Gemini 5, 9, 10 and 11 missions and accomplishments. What happened to the Angry Alligator? Was the only thing accomplished on GT-9 Gene's spacewalk?

I will SETTLE for these 'Why We Left Earth' - but will purchase the DVDs when they come out - for the other hours of stuff!

In the meantime I will look again at the Apogee's DVD series - 'Rocket Science', which although it was done years ago before Hi-Def, each showed US-USSR space missions the way we wanted it done by Discovery - longer and how every mission led into the next.

divemaster
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posted 06-09-2008 09:50 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for divemaster   Click Here to Email divemaster     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by onesmallstep:
Although all of the comments/reviews so far are valid (especially about the length - if they can devote twelve hours of docudrama for 'From the Earth to the Moon', think of the footage they can air in that period of time!)
I'll bet the budget for the Discovery Channel was a whole lot less than for FTETTM. If memory serves, it was close to $65M to produce the 12 episodes - which I still enjoy watching to this day.

Now, if TBS would transfer MoonShot to DVD, I'd be a very happy camper. That, too, was an excellent four hours of footage. The outakes must have been something, too.

mjanovec
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posted 06-10-2008 12:16 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for mjanovec   Click Here to Email mjanovec     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by E2M Lem Man:
That said - I HATED the way that Discovery never went into the Gemini 5, 9, 10 and 11 missions and accomplishments.

What's worse is that they not only implied that the Gemini IX EVA was a failure (admittedly using Cernan's own words), they implied that the EVAs on Gemini X and XI were also failures...essentially dismissing the value of these missions. While these EVAs were often fraught with difficulties, they were FAR from being failures.

Overall, I think the emphasis on failures instead of successes is disturbing. Notice the amount of time spent on Grissom's sinking capsule and Carpenter's off-target landing...versus the briefest of mentions of Schirra's and Cooper's highly successful missions. Granted, Schirra and Cooper aren't here to tell their stories, but neither is Grissom.

garymilgrom
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posted 06-10-2008 07:31 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for garymilgrom   Click Here to Email garymilgrom     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I was surprised we never hear the voices of the "young" astronauts - only the reminisces of the guys as they are today. I'm sure there were many interesting things recorded, and to hear some of that (as it was then) followed by a current reflection would have been interesting. Also, as voices don't change much with time, it might have been interesting to juxtapose old to new speeches by the same person.

KSCartist
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posted 06-10-2008 07:51 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for KSCartist   Click Here to Email KSCartist     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
As far as reminisces from the astronauts when they were younger, the PBS series "Spaceflight" from the mid 1980's is an excellent source. Listening to Pete Conrad speak about "going ass over teakettle" during the Skylab I/2 EVA to release the solar wing is hilarious.

So I guess the answer is to gather as much of these as possible so that you can build a fuller record of the history.

ea757grrl
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posted 06-10-2008 10:44 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for ea757grrl   Click Here to Email ea757grrl     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I'm glad Tim mentioned "Spaceflight," which was a gem of a series and did a lot to get me back interested in space history many years ago when I got interested in space travel again. (Wish we could see it on DVD...!)

I can't help wondering if for some young nerd girl (or boy), "When We Left Earth" might do the same today that "Spaceflight" did for me back then. "When We Left Earth" isn't necessarily the film I would have made; the occasional audio/visual mismatches are a nuisance, and I could do without some of the over-dramatization. But I'm still enjoying it. It's not the greatest documentary on spaceflight I've seen, but it's a lot better than a lot of similar efforts. Considering that the series has to be interesting to the lay audience (and its short attention span), I think it's doing a decent job. I look forward to the next installments.

Gilbert
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posted 06-10-2008 03:20 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Gilbert   Click Here to Email Gilbert     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I enjoyed the first episode, but overlooking MA-8 and MA-9 disturbed me. I was eager to see Schirra and Cooper in action once again.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 06-12-2008 06:36 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
This Saturday, June 14, the Discovery Channel will be hosting a special live online Q&A with Bill Howard, executive producer of "When We Left Earth: The NASA Missions." Howard worked closely with NASA in selecting the footage and stories to create the six part HD series.

The live chat will take place Saturday, June 14th at 9:00 p.m. CDT.

In addition to participating in the live Q&A, readers can submit their questions at any time prior to the chat on Saturday evening. There is no registration necessary to participate.

Jay Chladek
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posted 06-15-2008 11:15 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Jay Chladek   Click Here to Email Jay Chladek     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Well, part two looked good although again I also wish it was longer. The Skylab segment to me was icing on the cake and I would have loved to see them devote a full thirty minutes to it (or an hour for that matter). But, I am glad they will be covering shuttle for two hours. So I will be glued to the TV next Sunday night.

divemaster
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posted 06-15-2008 11:53 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for divemaster   Click Here to Email divemaster     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Yes, I was glad to see Skylab FINALLY get it's due. But hardly a mention of Apollo 7 and 15 [they made you think that Apollo 16 had the first Rover] - and no mention of ASTP. All three were ground breaking missions in their own right.

But an improvement over last week.

OV-105
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posted 06-16-2008 06:09 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for OV-105   Click Here to Email OV-105     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I am glad I am not the only one who is a little let down on this show. I am looking forward to the Shuttle stuff, but I have a feeling it will be STS-1 and then STS 51-L then some stuff on the HST then STS-107. They will over look all of the other great stuff the shuttle has done. I hope the talk to a lot of the different astronaut classes from the shuttle.

MCroft04
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posted 06-16-2008 08:38 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for MCroft04   Click Here to Email MCroft04     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I think the show is great; it's not made for space enhtusiasts like most of you. But here are a few concerns and likes I had;

Was the difference in the shape of the CO2 scrubbers a design flaw? Not sure but I doubt it.

What happened to Apollo 15; barely a mention.

They included Neil's "a" in his fisrt step comment (subtitle) and didn't make a big deal out of it; didn't even mention it.

Frank Borman saying that he saw volcanoes on his A8 mission. Not according to A11-17 (minus 13)

You gotta like Joe Kerwin's enthusiasm!

Was that Gene Kranz during the Skylab flight with long hair?

KC Stoever
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posted 06-17-2008 03:40 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for KC Stoever   Click Here to Email KC Stoever     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I was on a family vacation when episode 1 aired but had a sense of the two hours (when my iPhone had a signal) from emails from my cS friends, most of them Scott Carpenter advocates.

We got home last night and saw the tivoed show. I had trouble sleeping afterward, thinking of all the ways the hour devoted to Mercury could have been improved. Rob is right: Project Mercury required two hours. But I salute the editors for astutely leaving my own interview footage on the cutting room floor. The Dangerous Films people were the best. I was not.

My one strong criticism was the producers' overreliance on Barbaree and Kraft and Kranz to narrate what was essentially, in the case of Barbaree, only received (and often-wrong) opinion, and in the case of the two flight controllers, an overbearing POV. And why was Kranz describing Mercury flights he didn't even work on? Yes, astronauts managed to get their licks in, and they often accomplished this in skillful fashion that some spaceniks may have appreciated. But neophytes would have been left with an inaccurate impression, and inaccurate is bad. Which is why there are books, I suppose.

Other reaction: Rene Carpenter loved the Gemini material. "Gee, Gemini was exciting," she enthused, "how did I miss all the fun?" I reminded her she probably had carpool. But she regretted the compression of time and events, particularly for Mercury, observing that one got absolutely no sense of the terrible waiting for the first suborbital and the orbital flights, the mood of the country.

"I went to the kitchen to get a glass of water," she said, "and missed two flights!" OK, yes, she does walk slowly. Anyway, her sense was that the producers are rushing headlong to get to the Saturn footage and the moon landings and edited to a fare-thee-well. She deplored the excision of Schirra and Cooper flights.

Oh, and one other thing. Last night, watching Kraft, I was reminded of one of Max Faget's early Mercury designs. Not too many people know about this: Max Faget and Paul Purser and Tibby Thibodaux had gotten back from the Round Three conference in Mountain View. So this was, like, October 1957. Ran into Kraft in NACA cafeteria. "Holy cow! Those ears!" Max later exclaimed to his PARD buddies. Using Harvey Allen's brilliantly intuitive blunt-end reentry design, Max just knew something like Chris's ears would be perfect for slowing the capsule down upon reentry.

Unfortunately, the techs weren't able to manage a prototype. So after plying Kraft with several of his favorite cocktails, which Kraft later enumerated lovingly in his memoir, Max actually subjected Chris Kraft himself (and his ears) to wind tunnel testing.

I think Chris is still sore about the whole thing and is gonna really be steamed that I mentioned it here. In the end, Max opted for parachutes. Which worked out really well.

mjanovec
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posted 06-17-2008 04:15 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for mjanovec   Click Here to Email mjanovec     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by KC Stoever:
And why was Kranz describing Mercury flights he didn't even work on?

Do you mean that he didn't work on them as flight director...or that he didn't work on them at all?

If I'm not mistaken, I believe he worked on all manned Mercury flights...albeit not as the lead flight director.

KC Stoever
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posted 06-17-2008 04:56 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for KC Stoever   Click Here to Email KC Stoever     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Good question. It's my recollection from the Kranz memoir that he came on as asst. flight director for MA-7, some time in the winter of 61-62. But I could be wrong. I seem to remember Kranz describing himself in his memoir as a newbie at NASA in 1962.

Richard Glueck
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posted 06-17-2008 05:16 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Richard Glueck   Click Here to Email Richard Glueck     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I thought the Mercury/Gemini series was wonderful, although not much new footage from the era turns up. The Apollo series skirted over the Apollo 1 fire a bit too quickly for me. I realize the issue of the fire not something people wanted to dwell upon, and perhaps new footage is not very revealing of itself. I think Gus, Ed, and Roger, deserved a bit more in terms of the sacrifice and what it did for the program.

I very much liked seeing Frank and Sue Borman, and interviews with Jim McDivitt, as well as so many survivors of the missions. Having Neil Armstrong prominently available was a great part of the documentary, but where was Mike Collins?

Overall, I think a top notch program, at least in showing what American space technology is capable of accomplishing.

mjanovec
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posted 06-17-2008 05:27 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for mjanovec   Click Here to Email mjanovec     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by KC Stoever:
Good question. It's my recollection from the Kranz memoir that he came on as asst. flight director for MA-7, some time in the winter of 61-62. But I could be wrong. I seem to remember Kranz describing himself in his memoir as a newbie at NASA in 1962.

I don't have his memoir in front of me, but I checked Kranz's oral history and he says he started at NASA in 1960 as a Procedures officer, right before the launch of MR-1. He continued in that role until MA-7, when he became Assistant Flight Director.

alanh_7
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posted 06-18-2008 10:44 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for alanh_7   Click Here to Email alanh_7     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by mjanovec:
I checked Kranz's oral history and he says he started at NASA in 1960 as a Procedures officer, right before the launch of MR-1. He continued in that role until MA-7, when he became Assistant Flight Director.
I just re-read Kranz book an I think that is right.

KC Stoever
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posted 06-18-2008 12:09 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for KC Stoever   Click Here to Email KC Stoever     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Unclear referent? Which account, that is, is right--the NASA oral history or his memoir? I ask because I don't know.

And where was Kranz stationed, where did he work, when he watched the Grissom recovery operation?

Jay Chladek
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posted 06-18-2008 01:27 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Jay Chladek   Click Here to Email Jay Chladek     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Oh man, I can just picture Kraft in a wind tunnel getting his ears tested. Now THAT is funny! As for him being steamed, let him. Frankly I think Chris is more fun when he is a little steamed.

I think part of the problem with WWLE has to do with whom they got interviews from in regards to certain missions being covered and others not being covered. Wally is passed on now (although I have to wonder if they approached him when he was still around) and Stafford doesn't seem to give interviews much. I don't even recall him saying anything for "Moon Shot" from 10 years ago. Dave Scott seems like he can be a tough person to reach unless he really throws himself behind a project, hence no A15 coverage (would have been nice to get both his and Neil's comments for Gemini 8).

Granted they still had interviews from Al Worden and Walt Cunningham for A7 and A15, but they seemed just a bit too brief.

Hopefully the extra four hours of stuff on the DVDs will help to plug some of the holes left in the broadcast version. As for final judgement on the series, I will reserve that until after I see the final part this Sunday. If it isn't as good, then I can rest soundly in the fact that "In the Shadow of the Moon" will air on the following Monday.

jasonelam
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posted 06-22-2008 01:50 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for jasonelam   Click Here to Email jasonelam     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I have had the opportunity to watch both parts of the series that have aired so far on my DVR, and I would have to give the series so far a three out of four stars.

I find it interesting that a lot of people have noticed the "never before seen footage" part that is in all of the commercials. It is all "never before seen"? I did see some things that I had never seen before (film of the GT-7 second stage after separation) but most of it was stuff I had seen before.

The interviews were very interesting. I thought that Neil Armstrong's parts were some of the most interesting, it was like he was telling an amazing story (which he was) and it made you wanting more. Also unique was having Bruce McCandless' comments, which showed another side of the story. Also the interview with Susan Borman was interesting as well, for we rarely hear from the astronauts wives during shows like this.

The footage was sometimes in error, as stated earlier. But as before this was for the masses, and the average person would not know that re-entry footage was used during launch sequences.

The most disappointing fact of the series is the fact that while they covered every Mercury launch, they missed Gemini 5,9,10 and 11. Also, they never explained why Gemini 6 was launching after Gemini 7, and made the Gemini 9-11 spacewalks look like failures. None of them were, and it was a shame that they did that kind of disservice.

In the Apollo side, too little time was spent on Apollo 1 and 7, and no time was given to why Apollo 8 went to the moon. I think that the behind the scenes story on Apollo 8 is interesting in itself. Worst of all, however, was the fact that Apollo 15, Skylab 3&4 and ASTP were completely snubbed. It is as if they said "well, I guess well have to throw some out". I find it a disservice to the men who flew those missions that their moment to shine has been removed due to time constraints.

The shows have been ok so far, and I hope that those missions not included in the series are on the extra footage part of the DVD.

Jay Chladek
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Posts: 2211
From: Bellevue, NE, USA
Registered: Aug 2007

posted 06-22-2008 10:54 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Jay Chladek   Click Here to Email Jay Chladek     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Shuttle was interesting, although again they fell into the trap of using later mission footage for early stuff in the program. The hubble section was nice to watch at least as the launch of Hubble wasn't covered all that well as I can recall, so I don't even remember them having the stuck solar array on it.

One thing that did disturb me a little though was the use of the SRB camera footage for the missions prior to STS-114 and especially their use on STS-107. Except for one camera set in the fronts of the SRBs, the rest of those cameras to my knowledge weren't added until after Columbia. But the footage to me implied they were on Columbia, so I have this concern that some wenie will claim a conspiracy and NASA coverup of the foam strike damage which would have been visible on the SRB cameras at the angles they were placed at (hence the reason why they were used after Columbia). Even if one doesn't hear that, I can sense some confusion on the part of some viewers.

They could have done that better IMHO as they could have said that one of the changes made after Columbia was more cameras to get footage of ascent to watch for foam strikes. Then they could go into showing some of beautiful SRB shots, the ascent of Discovery from 114 (which they snuck into the Hubble launch footage BTW, carefully edited so as not to show the tail section of the orbiter with the big NASA meatballs and white flipper doors) along with ones from the WB-57 Canberra chase planes and the ET ascent camera as well (and the backflip).

To me, the substitution of footage brought about by a lack of useable footage of some events in early missions is one thing. But a lot of shuttle coverage exists and it seems like they took the cheap road on it.

divemaster
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Posts: 1341
From: ridgefield, ct
Registered: May 2002

posted 06-23-2008 10:27 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for divemaster   Click Here to Email divemaster     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I came away from last night's episode with a very surprising reaction - I felt sad. Naturally, I expected a lot of air time on the Challenger and Columbia accidents - and realized that there was NO way they could cover the amount of flights and their achievements other than HST and ISS - but I sat there and realized that it will all be over in two years. Listening to the enthusiasm of Hoot Gibson and Eileen Collins and all of the others, really brought back a lot of old memories. And, of course, John Young's dry wit about safety REALLY added a sharp edge to all of it.

Of special note was when Gene Kranz starting talking about EVA now versus Ed White's flight and the early EVA's. We take things for granted today.

So, now we wait for the third generation of spaceflight. There's a lot of history in the MGA projects and then the Shuttle. I hope we and the government don't really screw up the Constellation program.

bruce
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From: Fort Mill, SC, USA
Registered: Aug 2000

posted 06-23-2008 08:43 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for bruce   Click Here to Email bruce     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Let's face it. To give everything its proper due, from the X-15 through Shuttle, this would easily have to be a weekly two-hour series of shows ... for several years!

However, watching the three episodes through my wife's and teenage daughter's eyes, and in hearing their comments, I think the series succeeded in bringing an informative sampling of missions that represented each program (M-G-A-S), along with a nice combination of narration and astronaut comments, plus some great footage (albeit not 100% accurately used at times).

If the goal of this series was to relate these stories, in some chronology, with a sense of wonderment and pride, and to convey the human curiosity and need to explore space, I would have to say mission accomplished. Of course, the extra footage offered on the DVD's is what most of us are waiting for now!

328KF
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From:
Registered: Apr 2008

posted 06-23-2008 10:40 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for 328KF   Click Here to Email 328KF     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I am sitting here now watching "Shadow" on Discovery. I can't help feeling very fortunate to have had this program and the other two recent efforts (WWLE and "Wonder") produced in this 50th anniversary year of NASA. We all find our faults, slight as they may be, in each program. But taken as a whole, I think more of the true thoughts and feelings of these men and women have been captured on film than ever before.

Each producer/director had their own approach to the subject and how to present it, making each effort unique and entertaining. Rather than dwell on the oversights, I find it absolutely amazing that the likes of Dave Scott, John Young, and Neil Armstrong were at long last amenable to sitting down in front of a camera and, particularly in Neil's case, quite eloquently discuss the events of their missions.

I find it interesting that while some of the astronauts have polished their "space talk" into a well-rehearsed, yet compelling yarn, others like Charlie Duke never seem to stop finding new ways to explain things.

These three films together will probably stand as the greatest collection of recorded interview material from these astronauts and controllers. Taken in context with the compelling memoirs that have been marketed in recent years, a clearer picture of the program emerges for enthusiasts like us and serves as inspiration for future explorers-to-be.

And yet, there is more to come. No one ever thought we would see an Armstrong authorized bio, and now it is to be followed by a memoir by John Young. The "Outward Odyssey" series continues in production with some of the most exciting material yet offered. "Dangerous Films" has two big programs coming next year, and we continue to await a possible Armstrong movie. Mark Gray works tirelessly to provide us with the raw material we all crave, while virtually making history himself.

We do indeed live in interesting times.

MrSpace86
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Posts: 1379
From: Gardner, KS, USA
Registered: Feb 2003

posted 06-23-2008 10:52 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for MrSpace86   Click Here to Email MrSpace86     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I had never seen the declassified footage of Challenger. That was very interesting!

Overall, it was very good for the masses, but some of the things shown, cut out, or the mistaken footage was painful for guys like us!

Dwight
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Posts: 468
From: Germany
Registered: Dec 2003

posted 06-24-2008 05:51 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Dwight   Click Here to Email Dwight     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Does anyone know if the Blu-rays are Region free (ie regions A, B and C?)


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