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FILM: Chasing the Moon, Part 1 excerpt "Astronauts and Politics"

American Experience
Chasing the Moon, Part 1, excerpt "Astronauts and Politics"    Thursday, June 27 at 7pm

An advance look at the upcoming three-part PBS series. “Chasing the Moon,” a film by Robert Stone, reimagines the race to the moon for a new generation.

Science and politics went hand in hand once Soviet Cosmonaut, Yuri Gagarin, became the first man in space. The excerpt opens with astronaut, Virgil Grissom’s return from the Liberty Bell 7 Mission, in 1961. Astronauts had become a new kind of celebrity; real-life heroes that the American people wanted to know more and more about.
President Kennedy meets with Wernher von Braun in 1962. Later that year he delivers one of his most famous speeches: “We choose to go to the moon.”
Now von Braun and the team at NASA will work to send a manned craft to the moon and return it safely to earth. The slow rate of progress in testing and building the new rocket by the fall of 1963, however, starts to raise doubts on whether the U.S. could reach the moon by the end of the decade. Kennedy now resolves to work with the Soviet Union in making this possible, advocating that it is no longer about one nation’s ability, but about the ability of mankind.

Major funding for American Experience provided by Liberty Mutual Insurance, Consumer Cellular and by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation. Major funding for Chasing the Moon provided by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, the National Endowment for the Humanities: Exploring the Human Endeavor, and by The Arthur Vining Davis Foundations: Strengthening America’s Future Through Education. Additional funding for American Experience provided by the Robert David Lion Gardiner Foundation, The Documentary Investment Group: Ira and Diana Riklis and public television viewers. American Experience is produced for PBS by WGBH Boston.