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The Space Race

Aired August 9, 2014 - 20:00   ET


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The communists seemed to be putting us on the defensive on a number of fronts.

We are behind and that I'm sure they're making a concentrated effort to stay ahead.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We may get beaten more. There are no quick, cheap or easy way victories in this game.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We are aware of the international implications of the project but we're not in this thing for the race aspects.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Rockets to the lunar trip. This will make this one seemed putative and already are being dumped.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The first strives toward the stars were not without tragic setbacks.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You are aware of the risks. It makes us up the risk and what risks there are

JOHN F. KENNEDY, FMR. U.S. PRESIDENT: We choose to go to the moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are ours.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We have good many very talented scientists but we did not make a major effort in this area for many years and we are now behind and paying the price of having the Soviet Union exploit a great propaganda advantage, with the flight of the Sputnik, as well as the flight of Mr. Gagarin.

CHARLES COLLINGWOOD, CBS NEWS REPORTER: I have Marvin Kalb, CBS News Correspondent in Moscow on the phone now. Marvin, is there any doubt at all in your mind that this really happened, that the Russians really have put a man in space?

MARVIN KALB, CBS NEWS CORRESPONDENT: I'm almost certain that the Russians did fire a man into outer space. His name is Gagarin, he's 27. It's a great historic site at its peak (ph).

CHARLES BOLDEN, NASA ADMINISTRATOR: At that time, we didn't really know whether a human could survive in space. In here, boom, the Soviets send this guy to the space and he survived.

SERGEI KHRUSHCHEV, SON OF NIKITA KHRUSHCHEV: Yuri Gagarin was some saying had affected American proudness that we are ahead of everybody. Now, it was first Sputnik set the line and now the first man in space was Russian and you can understand that this was really in the middle of the Cold War, there was competition of the great super powers.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Could you give us your view, sir, about the Soviet achievement of putting a man in orbit and what it would mean to our space program as such?

KENNEDY: Well, it is the most impressive scientific accomplishment. I have already sent congratulations to Khrushchev and to the man who was involved.

ANDREW CHAIKIN, AUTHOR, "A MAN ON THE MOON": The space race wasn't just about space. It was about our own sense of security. It was this new Cold War battle ground. And so it wasn't very hard to realize that if they could put a man in orbit, they could also put an atomic bomb in orbit. And suddenly, the sky was menacing.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It means they're getting ahead of us and we certainly need to start working hard to catch up.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think it's about time America will wake up and do something about it.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I believe it's very impressive for propaganda purposes but I think if we put our minds to it that this country can top that in six months.

TOM HANKS, ACTOR: For my perspective as a kid, we were in a race against the Russians and the Russians were the bad guys and they were winning this race and that meant they were superior to us and yet they were the bad guys.

MAX MASSIMINO, NASA ASTRONAUT: In 1960, we had astronauts and we hadn't had anybody in space yet but we were kind of knocking on the door and getting ready to go. We're a little bit behind. We want to catch up. We want to be the leaders.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There's another question, Doctor, and that is do we have the stuff to do it? What would you say now that we must do to match this or better it?

WERNHER VON BRAUN, NASA CHIEF ROCKET DESIGNER: While the United Statesmen is peaceful, behind these feast on the philosophy that we don't want to pull a stunt and risk a man's life. For this reason, there are certain intermediate steps planned before we put a man in orbit that this was successful then and only then will an orbit will attempt to be made.

GLYNN LUNNEY, GEMINI AND APOLLO FLIGHT DIRECTOR: The Mercury project was our first real response to the Sputnik and to Yuri Gagarin's flight and it was a big deal for us I'll tell you because all of a sudden we had seven guys and there were fighter pilot types, very alpha-male guys, fun to be around, you know, it was like being with rock stars.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's a gala day in Houston as its citizens turned up by the tens of thousands to give a Texas size welcome to the U.S. space team.

CHAIKIN: They were heroes before the public new their names. They became warriors on behalf of the United States against our most feared enemy, the Soviet Union.

JIM SLADE, SCIENCE CORRESPONDENT: What they were hiring these guys for was for mindset, they wanted experienced test pilots who could observe and report during a very violent and dangerous activity.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: As we develop the space path, almost everything we do deals with the risky side of business. We recognize that we can get killed flying spacecraft like they can get killed buying a T33s or T38s or driving my Corvette. This is one of the facts of life for everyone but we have a job that is very fascinating and it's worth the risk.

SLADE: Alan Shepard was a national leader. He got the first ride into the space.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The Shirley Temple program usually seen at this time will not be presented in order that we may bring you the following special broadcast.

ROBERT ABERNETHY, NBC NEWS: Within the next few days from this guarded wasteland, the first American will be launched into space. He will not go into orbit as Yuri Gagarin did, but he will ride his space craft 116 miles up, and there he'll hang weightless for about five minutes until gravity pulls him back through the atmosphere to the sea nearly 300 miles downrange.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Astronaut Shepard made news way through the elevator. There are some applause from the hundred twenty or so people. And now Astronaut Shepard ascends the gantry plane, in a few moments will be spaced in his capsule.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Two minus 10, nine, eight, seven, six, five, four, three, two, one, zero, ignition. Lift off. Lift off and (inaudible).

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Roger, lift-off, and the clock has started. All systems are go.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Some lawmakers want to reward the Medal of Honor to Shepard, all today appeared ready to spend more money on our space effort. All agreed Russia is still ahead. But all of these was beside the point for the wife of the first American astronaut. Mrs. Alan Shepard at Virginia Beach, Virginia heard the news with relief.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mrs. Shepard, could you tell us what are your feelings on this (inaudible)?

LOUISE SHEPARD, WIFE OF ALAN SHEPARD: I don't think I have to tell you, do I? I'm just so happy. It was beautiful, I thought.

LUNNEY: The Gagarin flight was a 10. Al Shepard's flight was a one or a two, OK, in terms of the capability that it demonstrated. So, the Russians clearly were ahead of us. So, the attitude is, we would like to do something really big but small enough so that we could accomplish it.

KENNEDY: I believe that this nation should commit itself to achieving the goal before this decade is out of landing a man on the moon and returning him safely to the earth. No single space project in this period will be more impressive to mankind or more important for the long range exploration of space.

LUNNEY: I don't know how he decided we could do that because when we heard about it, we thought that they, you know, lost their mind.


WALTER CRONKITE, CBS NEWS ANCHOR: This is Walter Cronkite reporting from the cabin AC131 over Wright-Patterson Air Force Space Dayton, Ohio. His aircraft is executing a maneuver to make it and everyone in it temporarily wait list. This wait list condition is one of many that man must learn to tolerate or overcome to survive a first trip to the moon.

DOUGLAS BRINKLEY, AUTHOR, "CRONKITE": Cronkite was the perfect person for space because he was a space junkie. He ended up covering the early Mercury missions and he just became encyclopedic on it.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What are the hazards and what are our scientist doing to ensure a man's survival in the hostile environment of outer space? That is our story, First Man on the Moon, as the Prudential Insurance Company of America presents the Twentieth Century.

JOHN H. GLENN JR., FMR. NASA ASTRONAUT: This is Marine Lieutenant Colonel John H. Glenn Jr. who within a few days will be the first American to fly in an orbit around the world.

We're embarking on a complete and new field here of space science and I'm happy and proud that I can maybe contribute a little bit in my own way in this new field.

BOLDEN: John Glenn came along next and flew the first orbital flight for an American. To us, that was a huge deal because now we had an American hero who could at least stand up to Yuri Gagarin.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Godspeed John Glenn. Three, two, one.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is Mercury control, Friendship 7 space craft has now committed to its third orbit.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: All good. Real good looking flight from we've seen.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is much good. Well, we will see you back East.



CHAIKIN: Shortly before he supposed to renter the atmosphere, the word comes that there's a possibility that Glenn's heat shield has detached from the base of the capsule.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Texas CapCom safe flight.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Go ahead, Cape flight, go ahead.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We have decided to renter with the pack on.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is Friendship 7. What is the read for this? Do you have any reading? Over.

CHAIKIN: The only thing holding the heat shield on are three straps which were attached to the retro rockets.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We feel is far safer to reenter with the retro package on. Over.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Roger, I understand.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So, normally, the plan is you fire the retrorockets and then you let them go. But now, it becomes clear that if Glenn does that, he might be burned alive.

SLADE: He went through this period of intense (inaudible) where you lose contact with them.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Friendship 7 this is Cape, do you read? Over.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Friendship 7, this is Cape, do you read? Over.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hello. Mercury recovery, this is Friendship 7, do you read me?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Roger. Radio on, clear, how are you doing?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: My condition is good, but that was a real fireball, boy.

KENNEDY: I express the great happiness and thanksgiving of all of us that Colonel Glenn has completed his trip and I know that this is particularly felt by Mrs. Glenn and his two children.

GLENN: It was quite a day. I don't know what you can say about a day in which you see four beautiful sunsets in one day. But it's pretty interesting.

JULES BERGMAN, ABC NEWS: Now, we know that Russia need not and will not have any monopoly on man space flight. A new spirit has risen in US (inaudible) and in our capital. I know the growing pains of project Mercury a host of new projects will be born.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Dr. Von Braun, you could have gone ahead if you had more money earlier, is that right?

VON BRAUN: Well, this is true. Although the outcome limitations, you know, there one seeing that it'll take six to nine months to have a baby (inaudible). MASSIMINO: Von Braun was perfectly placed to get us off the planet. He was a German rocket scientist that we are pretty lucky to get after the war.

BOLDEN: Von Braun was a futurist and a visionary as much as anything else. He built the team that became America's brain trust for rocketry.

KENNEDY: I've come to Texas today to salute an outstanding group of pioneers. For the headlines maybe made by others in other places, history is being made everyday by the men and women of the aerospace medical center without whom there could be no history.

LUNNEY: When he was assassinated, that was a personal blow. It was a personal blow to us because he was the guy who got us on this track.

MASSIMINO: When President Johnson came in, you know, he was going to continue implement what President Kennedy had done. Those two men together led us to where we ended up at the end of the decade.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Visiting Cape Canaveral are the new astronauts. The men who will join the original seven and ride the Gemini and Apollo spacecraft. They are the new pioneers of space.

LUNNEY: We were very fortunate and that our country always seemed to have the right person ready when the right person was needed. I'd give you Neil Armstrong.

BRINKLEY: Neil Armstrong was unflappable. He was a natural aviator and Armstrong just seemed never to be ruffled.

DAVE SCOTT, GEMINI AND APOLLO ASTRONAUT: Neil's a cool guy as we all know and in fact all of the guys that I was working with at the time are all exceptional pilots and -- so it's great to be on a team like that where they're all winners.

BERGMAN: Gemini is the space agency bridge to the future. With it, we'll learn man's true capabilities and drawbacks from space. And on the last five Gemini flights, we'll practice several different forms of rendezvous. The skill needed to re-supply spacecraft to change cruise, the ability to operate at a new medium that is both fantastically rewarding and terrifyingly dangerous. Gemini, moreover, is a rehearsal for Apollo, the three-man spacecraft that'll get us to the moon.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The Russian's surprise with another first and the first named Alexey Leonov who they say became the first man to walk around in space.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: When they own it, it went outside the spacecraft, we said, "No, he couldn't have done that." But the fact that the Soviets went outside successfully and came back was a shocker.

KHRUSHCHEV: The Soviet Unions pushed Americans back was part of this game at the time.

LUNNEY: I would say for most to the sixties, we had a sense of being behind.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It was a perfect launch and Scorpio 6 is on its way to make space history.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So, look, they see us.









CHAIKIN: The astronauts just became part of the fabric of the country. It was finding its way into the popular culture. If you grew up in the 50s, you were watching science fiction. But if you grew up in the 60s, you were watching it actually happen.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think I'm dragging a little bit and I don't want to fire the gun yet.

BOLDEN: When Ed White went out on the first EVA, people were holding their breaths.

CHAIKIN: There was a real push to get a space walk as soon as possible. That turned out to be Gemini 4 and Ed White's space walk was just magnificent then.

ED WHITE, ASTRONAUT: OK. I rolled off and I'm rolling to the right now. Under my other foot. There goes a -- looks a thermo glove, Jim.


LUNNEY: He went out and he had this little nitrogen bottle to fire this little thruster that can push this way, that way so he could rotate himself around, you know, and so on. And it gave the appearance of being a piece of cake.

WHITE: Look, I'm turning over.

MCDIVITT: My God, Ed. That looks beautiful.

WHITE: I feel like a million dollars.

There was absolutely no sensation of falling. There was very little sensation of speed other than the same kind of sensation that we had in the capsule. I think as I stepped out, I thought the biggest thing was a feeling of accomplishment and one of the goals at the Gemini 4 mission.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The next major breakthrough will be the bringing together of two orbiting craft. The Russians have made one task in their program and presumably have learned something. We have not yet made our first task so we must be considered behind.


CHAIKIN: The primary goal of project Gemini was to perform space rendezvous, without that no moon mission.


LUNNEY: With the lunar orbit rendezvous technique where the lunar module flew back up and rendezvoused with the command module, you have to bring these two vehicles together and to get them close in such a way that it wasn't easy to abduct them. It took a fair bit of work.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We're just flying nose to nose.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We can very clearly see the horizon scanners operating.


CHAIKIN: That was the moment when we pulled ahead in the space race. That was something that the Russian's hadn't even come close to doing and wouldn't accomplish for a couple more years.

LUNNEY: It was unknown as to how we were going to do that when we first started but we got good at it and we mastered it on Neil Armstrong's slide (ph) on Gemini 8.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Flight Houston, this is Gemini VIII. We're Station-keeping on the Agena at about 150 feet.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Way to go, partner.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You did it boy. You did it.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Man, that's great.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Man, that is history.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: OK. Gemini VIII ,we have T/M solid. You're looking good on the ground. Go ahead and dock.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Flight, we are down.

SLADE: They found another object in space and they docked them together to make one big spacecraft, a rocket on the nose of the Gemini. That was amazing. SCOTT: So, it's night time, hour down, have dinner and get ready for the next day. And I happen to look over at Neil's panel and I saw his (inaudible) his attitude (inaudible) in a bank and I said, "Neil, we're in a bank (ph)."

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We've got serious problems here. Were rolling end over and up here (inaudible).

SCOTT: They got up to it one revolution a second. So we decided to undock from the Agena which we suspected was the problem and then the Gemini started spinning very rapidly and we figured out that, "Oh, it's the Gemini."

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What seems to be the problem?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We're rolling up and we can't turn anything off. Continuously increasing in a left roll.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Did he say he could not turn the turn the Agena off?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No. He says it had separated from the Agena and he's in a roll and he can't stop it.

MASSIMINO: The only way that they were able to get out of this thing was for him to fire his thruster.

LUNNEY: They had to stop the spinning spacecraft before it spun so much that they passed out.

SCOTT: We got down alive and Neil said, "I think we'll both have another change and we did."

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The Week in Space. CBS News coverage of the astronaut Gene Cernan's Gemini 9. Two and a half hour walk in space reporting from the CBS News space center, Correspondent Walter Cronkite.

CRONKITE: The space walk is over. The hatch has been a lot closed again. Cernan is safely back in the spacecraft as with the disappointing space rock and the (inaudible).

LUNNEY: The only thing we did not do well was EVA, Extra Vehicular Activity. For the last flight, Gemini 12, Buzz brought in the idea of training in the water tank.

BUZZ ALDRIN, GEMINI AND APOLLO ASTRONAUT: I was a scuba diver from 1957. So, I knew a bit about dealing with currents and moving around and space walking. It was very delicate moving and you balance so you don't exert yourself. So I started training underwater.

LUNNEY: Buzz put all that together and the final EVA was done very much by the book. It was a big success.

ALDRIN: So I was standing up in a hatch and looking around and look at couple of pictures of Texas and the astrodome and I decided to, "Well, let me just turn around and take a picture." Nothing unusual about that, but that was the first selfie in space.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Gemini 12, Gemini 12, Houston ...

LUNNEY: When Gemini was over, the team of people, the planners, the astronauts and the people in the control center were completely synced when we came out with confidence in ourselves. It was like, "Let us have this Apollo stuff. We're going to take it to the moon as fast as we possibly can."


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I recognized it that there is risk.

WHITE: People might look at our work as perhaps dangerous. But we just try to take as much that out the best we can during a pretesting and make sure the systems are good.

I think we train that up working on so much that -- and understand that well enough that we don't look at the safe one (ph).

ROGER CHAFFEE, NASA ASTRONAUT: How far I want to go? I want to go as far as NASA goes and during my useful time as a pilot.

I'd like to go on a moon flight and if we go to Mars I'd like to go on that.

CHAIKIN: NASA looking ahead to the first manned Apollo flight. Now this is an early version that was intended only for test flights in earth orbit. And they've had a lot of promise with the spacecraft but they figure that you develop any new spacecraft you're going to have bugs.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I didn't arrange -- definitely all (ph). I can arrange it sir. Do you want to try the phone?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The rally (ph) gets to the moon we can't talk between three (inaudible) I can't hear a thing you're saying.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The regularly schedule program will not be seen at this time in order to bring you this special program.

BERGMAN: It was all over and once done horrifying second. A team minus 10 minutes in assimilated countdown an electrical spark apparently shut out and ignited the 100 percent oxygen on the cabin on close circuit TV screens. Horrified engineers watch the burst of flames and smoke and developed present white (inaudible). They heard their last word of shocking surprise. The flames developed in Apollo one, the crewmen never had a chance.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: News of the tragedy reached the White House shortly after formal signing of a 60 nation space treaty. President Johnson immediately send condolences to the families of the astronauts then issue the statement, "Three valiant young men have given their lives and service to the nation. We mourn the great lost and our hearts go out for their families."

LUNNEY: The Apollo fire was a shock to those of us in the program. It was a real shock. It was devastating. How could we put these guys in there? How could we not see a danger supposed? How can we do that?

FRANK MCGEE, ABC NEWS ANCHOR: There's reason to believe that establishing a deadline of 1970 for the moon flight contributed to their deaths.

NASA has acknowledged that success had dulled its earlier apprehensions, but it's determined not to let it revive fears paralyze it's due to records and that seems the proper attitude.

MASSIMINO: Your option is either to stop or you keep going and in some ways it's almost insulting to their memory to stop. What you want to do is you want to fix the problem and you want to keep calling. You want to achieve that goal and that's what those guys would have wanted.

TOM HANKS, ACTOR: Any endeavor is going to meet with tragedy and failure at human kindness progress, the complete reorganization of the Apollo space program without a doubt happen because of fire.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: At the Langley Center an accomplished lunar Acrobat Amos Spady gave some basic training and moonwalking to this reporter.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, I feel like Peter Pan.

SLADE: He was like a big kid at a candy store. When you do on TV and you want to about something happening the best way to do it was go and do it yourself. And Walter enjoyed it.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What happens if I follow around my face?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Nothing at all. I sample very soft slow motion inside.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So, I follow over my face to see?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Right. Let yourself fall.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: OK. Here I go. Up into it.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I want you to try jumping a little bit.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Here I go. This is just really for fun and games. What do you for a living, Amos? UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Werner Von Braun, what do you in the way of the vehicle in which we travel in space in the next 35 years already in the last 15 years we built up this system of rockets to the point your model doesn't even fit in the roof any longer. Are we going far beyond (inaudible).

VON BRAUN: I think there would be a continued need for some such a work cause and just rather arbitrary how big it will be on this -- as long they're just big.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The Saturn Five is like the mythic monument human audacity. No matter how you look at, at this thing was just mind blower.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Saturn Five was actually three big rockets that going top of each other. It was the spacecraft on very top with three guys and you knew that that sucker (ph) was going some place. It had a purpose in mind that it was going some place.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You get to December of 1968 and Frank Borman and James Lovell and Bill Anders have actually been training to fly the first flight around the moon.

JAMES LOVELL, ASTRONAUT: We kind of feel that this flight has set the face to begin in earnest our lunar line and Apollo program.

WALTER CRONKITE, CBS NEWS: The countdown to lift off for Apollo 8 has now T minus 50 minutes and count. This will be a first land flight of the Saturn five, a largest rocket man has ever built and it has the explosive potential in its fuel of 2.5 million tons of T and T.

Broadcasting launch of the Saturn Five, I never got over it.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We have ignition sequence on.

CRONKITE: And I'm supposed to be talking all through this.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The engines are on.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's hard to talk when you're holding your breath.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Three, two, one, zero.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Three, two, one, zero, we had command, we had so far. 3:01 AM Eastern standard time. We have cleared the tower.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There's a ramble in our building. It' looks good. It looks like a good flight.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This building is shaking under us. A camera platform is shaking but what a beautiful flight.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We interrupt this program to present another and a series of onboard television transmissions from the Apollo 8 Space Capsule brought to you by Tang the instant breakfast drink chosen for Germany and Apollo astronauts.

UNIDIENTIFIED MALE: Apollo 8 now 175,450 miles from earth and about to be pulled in by the moons gravity. The astronauts have now truly left the earth and its gravity. For this second telecast, Frank Forman has fixed the TV camera on a bracket below its window and turned Apollo 8 so it faces the earth.

And now, here are the television pictures coming through from the Apollo control.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Here's to what you're saying is the Western Hemisphere. I can see it's the south western part of the United States. And it appears now that the east coast is cloudy.

HANKS: Apollo 8 around Christmas of 1968 showed us the craters of the moon and then showed us the earth at the same time and spoke to us and read the book of Genesis.

FRANK BORMAN, ASTRONAUT: And God said, Let the waters under the heaven be gathered together unto one place, and let the dry land appear: and it was so. And God called the dry land Earth; and the gathering together of the waters called he Seas, and God saw that it was good.

And from the crew of Apollo 8, Merry Christmas and God bless all of you, all of you on the good Earth.

HANKS: The far sight of the moon and the earth rise but first unseen by human eyes as well as at television broadcast from in orbit around the moon -- I'm sorry on Christmas Eve? Holly smokes. Who wrote that? Who's the genius who wrote that script? Pretty damn good.

MASSIMINO: 1968 was a tough year for the country. Assassinations, bad stuff happen in Vietnam and people kind of doubt it was a great way to end it with people going around the moon for the first time. No one's been able to do it since beside United States.

HANKS: Then, Apollo 9 goes up a few months later, does everything it needs to do in earth orbit, then, you have Apollo 10 that does the same thing that Apollo 9 does but except that they fly to the moon to do it in lunar orbit. The lunar month goes down to within a few miles of the lunar surface. That were respond a comeback no one has paid attention to Apollo 10. Apollo 10 risked death like everybody and it's just as forgotten thing. Yeah. They did that too. What a shame they didn't get to land on the moon. And just a few months later, it came down to Apollo 11.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What kind of a physical sensation do you expect that actual touch down?

NEIL ARMSTRONG, ASTRONAUT: We hope that it will be relatively mild and there's no intention to make a smooth touchdown the way we'd prefer to come in the several feet per seconds so that we will collapse the struts. These are the dead bottoms dead one the laterals close enough to get down to the moon and even more important close enough to get backed up.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is CBS news coverage of "Man on the Moon".

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It was almost like this enormous fly wheel of momentum gathering speed and a level of public attention on those three astronauts and especially on Neil Armstrong because by that time, we all knew that Neil was going to be the first one to put his foot on the moon.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: All of them will follow just 20 minutes later. And Armstrong will take that first step in more ways than one. Here they are as they left the mass base center. That's about 6:30 this morning. They're the van backs up through this cage elevator and takes them up a couple of floors to the couple to the second level.

Then, out of that cage and across a few feet through a barge hatch and a permanent barge structure. The countdown going well 28 minutes and counting. He's on the picture there former president Johnson and Mrs. Johnson as they arrived the VIP viewing area.

JACK KING, LAUNCH CONTROL: Our transfer is complete. We're in an internal power with the launch vehicle at this time. We might a 15 seconds away from the Apollo 11 lift up. And it's guidance is internal. 10, nine, ignition sequence starts, six, five, four, three, two, one, zero.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Velocity 2195 bit per second.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And from the advice of visual would go today.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They finally gave me a window to look out.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Apollo 11, this is Houston, you are confirmed to go forward.


CRONKITE: Back here with our CBS News space headquarters, we're watching the countdown to the landing on the moon and waiting for the spacecraft to come around on this side of the moon again so we can get confirmation that all is still going well.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Eleven you got a pretty big audience that's live in the U.S., it's going to live to Japan, Western Europe and North and South America. Appreciate the great view.

MASSIMINO: They weren't just going on a pleasure cruise here. They had a lot of work to do. They needed do be on the top of their game, working together as a crew and with the control centers. So they are probably in the zone. I want to be in the zone big time.

CHAIKIN: Everything had been tried on editions (ph) leading up to that point, except the landing itself, and there was a good reason for that. The landing was the most complex part of the entire Apollo mission.

It was essentially a controlled fall.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (inaudible) go for landing, 3,000 feet.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Where it go (inaudible), where it go.


BOLDEN: Neil Armstrong took over manually during the descend because they were coming down in an area that was the planned area to land but there were boulders and some other kind of stuff. So he had to maneuver the lunar lander away from where it was headed to land.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We got some gap (ph).

BOLDEN: Which also caused everybody to start worrying because they had a finite amount of fuel. And so for him to do what he did, cause everybody on the ground to get really nervous.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Go forward, get into the right level. And back right.

ARMSTRONG: Houston, Tranquility base here, the eagle has landed.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Rocket tranquility, we copy on the ground. You got a (inaudible) about to turn blue.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Armstrong is on the moon. Neil Armstrong, 38 year old American, standing on the surface of the moon on this July 28th, 1969.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's one small step for man, one giant leap for (inaudible).

CHAIKIN: It was a moment when it seems like the whole country and even most of the world kind of stopped in their cracks and just took all this in with a sense of wondering, almost disbelief. My god, can this really be happening?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oh it looks beautiful from here Neil.

ARMSTRONG: It's different but it's very pretty out here.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: OK, everybody's to so you can come out.


ARMSTRONG: OK, I'm on the top step.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You got three more step and then a long one. There you go.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well we (inaudible) has gone the first landing gear of this (inaudible) from the planet earth. First step (inaudible) upon the moon July 1969 (inaudible). We came (ph) in peace for all mankind. CHAIKIN: The real moment of truth is next. They still have to get off the surface of the moon. They push the button on the computer and then dang, they see the moon receding from them. And then some minutes later they're back in (inaudible) orbit and they're on their way to rondevu with my colleagues.

CRONKITE: Although the entire world who watched the Apollo 11 astronauts take man's first steps on the moon, the predawn darkness of the Mid-Pacific obscure their (inaudible) to work. So it was already daylight when the carrier went on and approached in (inaudible) Columbia, in the ocean (inaudible).

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Neil, Buzz and Mike, I want you to know that I think I'm the luckiest man in the world because I have the privilege of speaking for so many in welcoming you back.

MASSIMINO: It was such a huge event in our country's history. (inaudible) in New York, this is bigger than the midst, one in the world series in 69, and there was a little boy looking up to them, thinking at least they should be cooler than, you know, the Beatles.

Now these guys were the epitome of cool.

SLADE: There was another one of these suckers scheduled for November, so the people who did it were so busy getting ready for the next for they didn't have time to celebrate the first one.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Apollo 12, Houston.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hello Houston. (inaudible) we did drop it and go as we rise (inaudible).

LUNNEY: We didn't actually spend much time asking ourselves about the greater meaning of this. We weren't aware of what was going on around the world in terms of the reaction of people. We just pressed right on.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think see my crater. Wait, there it is, there it is. Oh my god (inaudible) in the middle of the road.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Outstanding, 43 degrees (inaudible).

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It wasn't till afterwards that we begin to realize the depth of the significant of it.

CRONKITE: Until Apollo 11, the moon was attainable mystery. But after Apollo 11, the moon is mysterious no longer.

HANKS: All of human experience will be divided into two areas. Before man walked on the moon and after man walked on the moon.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The whole world was together at that particular moment. It was an example that in spite of all that's going on down here in spite at all that we're going through, there is hope.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: My generation is the generation that change the moon from an object to a place. And that will never happened again, there can only be one first time.

MASSIMINO: The space program in the 1960s, it set the standard of what we could do. You can say today, "We can land a man on the moon but we can't do this." You know, when we think within the space program, we're like, "Go to Mars?" Yeah, we can go to Mars. We went to the moon in 1969, we can do anything.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: To all those Americans who built those (inaudible) and place their heart and all their abilities into those craft. To those people, tonight, we a give a special thank you. And to all the other people that are listening and watching tonight, god bless you. Good night from Apollo 11.