– Established on 29 July 1958 by the US government,
NASA pioneered the future in space exploration and scientific discovery. Delving into previously unseen archive material as well as original negatives of more familiar footage, this series tells the story of this iconic organization.
Wednesday, July 6 at 10:00 p.m.
Space Age: NASA's Story (pt. 1)
Born of the Cold War, NASA moves stridently from disastrous rocket tests to the glorious conclusion of the Gemini Program. We experience the massive challenges of sending a man into space and how, despite many setbacks, the astronauts proved that the key element to exploration would be human resourcefulness, in space as well as on the ground. NASA veterans describe these early missions as the hardest of all – the first, uncertain steps towards a new frontier. Building on the success of the pioneering Mercury program, Project Gemini gives NASA the experience and confidence to take the next giant leap – to land men on the Moon. The program offers a fresh look at an amazing organisation and mankindís quest to understand the universe. Blending stunningly restored footage with revealing, insightful and engaging interviews with the people who were there - the astronauts, family members and journalists - this is an epic story of the heroes, the triumphs and the tragedies of space exploration.
Wednesday, July13 at 10:00 p.m.
Space Age: NASA's Story (pt. 2) - To the Moon
To land a human being on another celestial body will be the first step to living beyond our planet. The breathless pace and daring of the Apollo program sees NASA master previously unimagined tasks in the attempt to achieve the most incredible acomplishment in the history of human endeavour. From the ashes of tragedy on Apollo 1 emerges a determination that puts Apollo 8 in orbit around the Moon ahead of schedule. Apollo 9 and 10 each break bold new ground and pave the way for something few dared to believe was possible. When Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin walk on the Moon and return safely to earth, the whole planet throws them a party.
Wednesday, July 20 at 10:00 p.m.
Space Age: NASA's Story (pt. 3) - Triumph & Tragedy
With repeated triumphs and new challenges come increasing risk, until loss breaks the pattern. The white-knuckle suspense thriller of Apollo 13’s famous near-disaster is only a triumphant prelude to darker moments ahead. The launch of the space shuttle program promises routine trips to Earth orbit for many new astronauts. But just when that promise seems fulfilled, routine shuttle launches begin to bore the public. NASA responds by training a school-teacher to fly, in order to teach children lessons from space.
Wednesday, July 27 at 10:00 p.m.
Space Age: NASA's Story (pt. 4) - LIfe & Death in Space
After visiting the Moon, humanity seeks to explore deep space and learn to live beyond the Earth. This requires extensive experimentation, and the building of NASA’s first space station – Skylab. Thus begins a new stage in space exploration, heralding the replacement of rivalry with partnership; The International Space Station unites over a dozen nations – with Japanese, Canadian and European astronauts aiming to complete it by 2010. Meanwhile NASA’s greatest asset – the Hubble Space Telescope – reveals what is waiting for us deep in space, having begun its life as NASA’s most famous mistake.