Chasing the Moon

Jul 1, 2019

Apollo 16 astronaut Charles Duke joins documentary producer/director Robert Stone  to talk with Walter Edgar about the Space Race of the 1960s, and about making the documentary Chasing the Moon.

Chasing the Moon, the upcoming American Experience documentary (premieres July 8 on PBS), thoroughly reimagines the race to the moon for a new generation, upending much of the conventional mythology surrounding the effort. The three-part series recasts the Space Age as a fascinating stew of scientific innovation and PR savvy, political calculation and media spectacle, visionary impulses and personal drama.

The Apollo 11 crewmen, still under a 21-day quarantine, are greeted by their wives. Looking through the window of a Mobile Quarantine Facility are (left to right) astronauts Neil A. Armstrong, Edwin E. Aldrin, Jr., and Michael Collins. The wives are (left to right) Mrs. Pat Collins, Mrs. Jan Armstrong, and Mrs. Joan Aldrin. July 27, 1969.
Credit Courtesy of NASA

With no narration and using only archival footage — including a visual feast of previously lost or overlooked material — the film features new interviews with a diverse cast of characters who played key roles in these historic events. Among those included are astronauts Buzz Aldrin, Frank Borman and Bill Anders; Freeman Dyson, the renowned futurist and theoretical physicist; Sergei Khrushchev, the son of former Soviet premier Nikita Khrushchev; Poppy Northcutt, the 25-year-old “mathematics whiz” who gained worldwide attention as the first woman to serve in the all-male bastion of NASA’s Mission Control; and Ed Dwight, the Air Force pilot selected by the Kennedy administration to train as America’s first black astronaut. 

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