Film: Mission Control – the Unsung Heroes of Apollo
I’m delighted to see that some of the talent behind the fascinating and quite moving Last Man on the Moon documentary (reviewed here last year), director David Fairhead and producers Keith Haviland and Gareth Dodds, have a new science documentary out, premiering at the South by Southwest film festival in the States. Mission Control: the Unsung Heroes of Apollo focuses on the staff in NASA’s Mission Control, what we’d in Britain called the classic Backroom Boys or Boffins, the ones who don’t get the glory of being the first to touch the surface of another celestial sphere, but without whom the staggeringly huge challenge of the Apollo moon programme could simply never have happened.
From the description: “Mission Control was at the very heart of the Apollo programme and its heroes were born against a backdrop of economic turmoil and global conflict. Some came from a rural lifestyle unchanged since the 19th century. Others grew up in a gritty, blue-collar America of mines and smoke stacks. They ranged from students straight out of college, to soldiers toughened by military service. Yet, from such ordinary beginnings, an extraordinary team was born.
They set out on what JFK called “the most hazardous, dangerous, and greatest adventure upon which mankind has ever embarked.” Through the team’s testimony and the supporting voices of Apollo astronauts and modern NASA leaders, “Mission Control” explores their journey from the faltering start of the programme to Mercury and Gemini missions, the tragic Apollo 1 fire and the glories of the Moon landings. This was achieved through a team whose average age was around 27 years old.”
Mission Control is being distributed by Gravitas Ventures, and will be available on global on demand services (and some slected cinemas in the US) following its premiere at SxSW from April 14th. I thought their Last Man on the Moon was a remarkable documentary – I’ve read and watched just about everything on Apollo over the years, but it took a very personal and human slant on this huge scientific endeavour which was refreshingly different from many others (I seriously recommend that one to all my fellow space geeks), so I am looking forward to seeing this new film.