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  BBC special: The Space Shuttle's Last Flight

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Author Topic:   BBC special: The Space Shuttle's Last Flight
Tykeanaut
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posted 07-22-2011 11:11 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Tykeanaut   Click Here to Email Tykeanaut     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Space Shuttle: The Final Mission

In the last month of the space shuttle programme, Kevin Fong is granted extraordinary access to the astronauts and ground crew as they prepare for their final mission. He is in mission control as the astronauts go through their final launch simulation, and he flies with the last shuttle commander as he undertakes his last practice landing flight. Kevin also gains privileged access to the shuttle itself, visiting the lauchpad in the company of the astronaut who will guide the final flight from mission control.

Kevin's journey takes him to the heart of NASA, when after 30 years of shuttle missions, they finally draw the curtain. As well as meeting the final astronauts, Kevin follows the specialist teams of men and women whose job it is to make sure the shuttle and its crew are as safe as they can possibly be.

After experiencing the launch and being in mission control during the final mission, Kevin will be there on the tarmac at the Kennedy Space Centre when Atlantis returns from space for the last time, marking the end of an era in manned space flight.

  • Saturday, Channel 4, 7.30-9.00pm: The Space Shuttle's Last Flight.

  • Sunday, BBC2, 9.00-10.00pm: Space Shuttle: The Final Mission.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 07-22-2011 11:16 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Kevin Fong and director Chris Riley ("In the Shadow of the Moon," "Moon Machines") were seated at the Kennedy Space Center press site just in front of me and so over the lead up to the last launch and then again at landing (as well as at Johnson Space Center during the mission), we had a few chances to chat.

Given the schedule pressures they were under to get this special completed, I still get the impression this will be a very good look at the space shuttle.

arjuna
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posted 07-22-2011 03:45 PM           Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Any idea when it will be shown in the U.S.?

ASCAN1984
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posted 07-23-2011 04:23 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for ASCAN1984   Click Here to Email ASCAN1984     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Have the DVD recorder set

issman1
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posted 07-23-2011 05:05 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for issman1     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I'm sure there are many other documentaries about the final shuttle flight. Incidentally, Kevin Fong, who is also a medical doctor specializing in space medicine, tried unsuccessfully to become an ESA astronaut.

Tykeanaut
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posted 07-23-2011 08:06 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Tykeanaut   Click Here to Email Tykeanaut     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Yes, Chris Riley is a very nice chap. I met him a couple of years ago at the Cheltenham Science Festival where he gave a talk and signed his book, "Apollo 11: Owners' Workshop Manual" (Haynes).

Robert Pearlman
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posted 07-23-2011 08:53 AM     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 arjuna:
Any idea when it will be shown in the U.S.?
According to Riley, at this time, no. This was an independent production (not a production of BBC) and so it is not as simple as just airing it on BBC America.

issman1
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posted 07-23-2011 03:35 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for issman1     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Channel 4's programme was more retrospective than an overview of STS-135, which was interesting. It was also accurate compared to some spaceflight documentaries I've seen before.

I was impressed by the anecdotal inputs from early shuttle era astronauts like Terry Hart, Mike Mullane (especially on STS-1), Rhea Seddon and former flight director Wayne Hale.

Rick Mulheirn
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posted 07-23-2011 03:54 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Rick Mulheirn   Click Here to Email Rick Mulheirn     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
There was very little in the Channel 4 program we had not see previously but it was still a good watch none the less.

It still irritates me somewhat when editors mix in all kinds of odd footage. This show was pretty good on the whole though I fail to see the relevance of SIIC/SIVB seperation footage when illustrating a shuttle launch.

Blackarrow
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posted 07-23-2011 05:21 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Blackarrow     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
So you spotted that, too, Rick!

Tykeanaut
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posted 07-24-2011 03:46 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Tykeanaut   Click Here to Email Tykeanaut     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Oh good, glad I'm not the only anorak on here!

Bluebird Mike
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posted 07-24-2011 08:24 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Bluebird Mike     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
...along with Gemini shots used when talking of Apollo, etc! Not a bad show though, glad I saw it. Always happy to see Mike Mullane talking about stuff!

Tykeanaut
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posted 07-24-2011 08:37 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Tykeanaut   Click Here to Email Tykeanaut     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Also on BBC2 tonight at 7pm: Around the World in 60 Minutes.
Footage recorded by space shuttle cameras to replicate the sensation of being 200 miles above the Earth's surface, orbiting at a speed of five miles per second. British-born astronaut Piers Sellers reveals what it is like to live and work in space, while some of the visuals are truly eye-popping.

Rick Mulheirn
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posted 07-24-2011 08:57 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Rick Mulheirn   Click Here to Email Rick Mulheirn     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Tykeanaut:
Oh good, glad I'm not the only anorak on here!
Certainly not Chris. On occasion I would put a train spotter to shame...

Rick Mulheirn
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posted 07-24-2011 11:00 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Rick Mulheirn   Click Here to Email Rick Mulheirn     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
All the indications are that the BBC 2 final flight commemorative program tonight (at 9.00pm till 10pm) may be something special.

Philip
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posted 07-24-2011 01:34 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Philip   Click Here to Email Philip     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Around the World in 60 Minutes: Okay, a great documentary with superb images and we all know it takes the ISS about 90 minutes to complete one orbit around our blue marble but the documentary only lasts 60 minutes, hence the title!

Big mistake was the fact that the orbit story was told from east to west, while the ISS travels from west to east as launches occur in easterly direction in order to benefit from Earth's rotation in this direction...

Rick Mulheirn
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posted 07-24-2011 04:19 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Rick Mulheirn   Click Here to Email Rick Mulheirn     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
BBC2 Space Shuttle Final Flight was good. Followed the final launch in the days and weeks before the mission and had some very interesting interviews with the close out crew, ground support staff and others.

The best seat in the house... apart from the crew... has to go to the guy operating the hi res tracking cameras. Sat just one mile from the pad must be quite an assault on his senses but one I would have gladly shared given the opportunity.

gliderpilotuk
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posted 07-25-2011 03:06 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for gliderpilotuk   Click Here to Email gliderpilotuk     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Yes, the BBC2 programme was very good and an excellent presenter who asked the right questions and didn't dumb it down in the usual fashion.

The Hi-Res camera shots that they showed briefly were amazing. I wonder if they'll ever be released?

Tykeanaut
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posted 07-25-2011 03:09 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Tykeanaut   Click Here to Email Tykeanaut     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Yep, I thought the BBC2 Space Shuttle Final Flight was excellent. I must confess that I had no idea how much practice went into landing!

issman1
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posted 07-25-2011 04:35 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for issman1     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
BBC certainly surpassed itself with this documentary. Since the presenter was already quite familiar with human spaceflight, it was done with the right degree of style and substance.

spacefan JC
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posted 07-25-2011 05:57 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for spacefan JC   Click Here to Email spacefan JC     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I have recorded both and very much looking forward to getting the opportunity to sit and watch them. I wasn’t sure I would have been able to watch, especially if they showed montages set to classical music. Suspect I might have shed a tear, and couldn't have the missus seeing that...

johnraiders
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posted 07-25-2011 06:35 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for johnraiders   Click Here to Email johnraiders     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I enjoyed both, but I thought the BBC one was excellent. He captured all the emotion of the final flight, only thing it didn't really capture was the huge disappointment at the 31 second hold.

What a lucky guy being able to do all those things in the final weeks.

The hi-res footage from one mile out was incredible, hopefully we can see more.

Any idea if SkyNews are doing a special?

crash
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posted 07-25-2011 11:41 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for crash   Click Here to Email crash     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
There is some nice footage available out there. I did wonder where the opening sequence on the STS-135 video came from. The BBC programme last night was very good indeed. No stupid questions and ridiculous, out of place, video footage. Mr. Fong is most definitely 'well connected' and it goes well beyond his short stint at JSC.

Very lucky man, however, my children have been to some of the places he has.

I haven't watched the last two so cannot confirm the quality of content.

Lunar_module_5
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posted 07-30-2011 04:08 AM           Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I am surprised that no-one who saw the Channel 4 documentary "The Space Shuttle's Last Flight" spotted that during the sequence showing Columbia's fatal last re-entry the commentator called Columbia's CDR "Stan Baldwin".

Why? Surely a simple Google search would have told anyone that Stan Baldwin was definitely not the CDR of Columbia. Even Wikipedia might get this one right! For a documentary on a "specialist" subject this should never have happened and especially when dealing with the subject matter (the deaths of 7 people).

That said, the BBC offering was better, but why oh why use the countdown for a Mercury launch on the video for the first shuttle launch? Drives me crazy!

Tykeanaut
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posted 07-30-2011 03:54 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Tykeanaut   Click Here to Email Tykeanaut     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I did notice the "Stan Baldwin", but not the Mercury launch sequence I must confess!

dave
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posted 07-30-2011 04:21 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for dave   Click Here to Email dave     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The BBC 2 show was excellent, as was the presenter. I love all this behind the scenes stuff with the lady who made the breakfasts for 30 years and the tile and camera guys, etc.!

I never knew they used the phone up on 195 to call home prior to boarding either!

Really nice way to round off a bittersweet week for me.

spacefan JC
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posted 08-02-2011 06:31 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for spacefan JC   Click Here to Email spacefan JC     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Finally managed to watch this last night. I was in total envy of the host and the access he was granted.

Particularly amused by the close out guys comment that his main task was ensuring that his colleague wasn’t inside when they locked the hatch.

I didn’t realise how many STA landings had to be done! I’d have given my right foot to have been onboard! Engines in reverse dropping like a stone with a Space Shuttle Commander in the hot seat.. How much fun would that be?...!

One thing I did note was the presenter’s use of the word Shuttle when referring to the Space Shuttle (or Orbiter) just didn’t seem to flow. Anyhoo, it doesn’t detract from the quality programme. Might try to fit in the channel 4 one tonight…

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