Mission Control: The Unsung Heroes of Apollo
Year:
2017
Country:
USA, UK
Genre:
History, Documentary
IMDB rating:
7.6
Director:
David Fairhead
Storyline: At the heart of the Apollo program was the special band of brothers in Mission Control. The feature documentary film Mission Control: The Unsung Heroes of Apollo tells their stories, describing the rural homesteads and smokestack towns they came from, and the remarkable team they became. The film consists of interviews with those who worked in Mission Control and astronauts, enhanced by extraordinary archive, stunning VFX and an original orchestral score. The film covers the first journeys to the moon by Apollo 8 and Apollo 11, and the huge effort required to save the crew of Apollo 13.
Type 1080p
Resolution 1920x1080 px
File Size 5602 Mb
Codec h264
Bitrate 7836 Kbps
Format mkv
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Reviews
"Mission Control: The Unsung Heroes of Apollo" is a fascinating, well-balanced and entertaining documentary.
If you've studied your history, watched the Discovery Channel and seen movies like 1983's "The Right Stuff", 1995's "Apollo 13" or even "Space Camp" (1986), "Armageddon" (1998) or "Gravity" (2013), you may think you know about the U.S. space program. Those films are all excellent (as are many other similar movies), but they only tell part of the story. If you haven't seen a well-made documentary on the subject… you don't know NASA. 2017's "Mission Control: The Unsung Heroes of Apollo" (NR, 1:41) fills in some of the gaps in our knowledge and increases our appreciation for the accomplishments of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (especially regarding the missions to the moon) and the men who got us there. What the terrific 2016 Best Picture Oscar nominee "Hidden Figures" did for black female NASA employees, this doc does for the pasty guys with crew cuts whom those ladies supported.

"Mission Control: The Unsung Heroes of Apollo" starts by establishing its story's historical context. In 1957, the Soviet Union shocked the world by putting Sputnik, the first man-made satellite in human history, into orbit around the earth. The following year, President Eisenhower created NASA and both he and his successors, Presidents Kennedy and Johnson, refocused our attention on the space race, but it took about a decade for the U.S. to pass the U.S.S.R. Besides launching the earth's first artificial satellite, the Russians also put a man into space and then into orbit before their American Cold War rivals accomplished those feats. But by 1962, the U.S. had caught up with the Soviets and, encouraged by JFK's famous 1961 message to Congress, had set its sights on getting to the moon before the 60s had ended.

After the Project Mercury missions got American astronauts into space and Project Gemini increased the complexity and capabilities of American spacecraft, Project Apollo was created to fulfill President Kennedy's stated goal of "landing a man on the moon and returning him safely to the earth". Only, it wouldn't be a "him"; it would be "them", several groups of "them", groups of three men who would risk their lives to get to the moon. And it would only happen after much blood, sweat and tears. NASA was creating a space program from scratch and inventing the necessary processes and procedures as they went along. But they still had doubts as to whether they could even achieve the President's objective.

The dangers inherent in a robust space program (and just how much work Apollo had to do) became painfully clear in 1967 when the three astronauts of Apollo 1 were killed in a cabin fire during a prelaunch test. After taking 20 months to re-evaluate every aspect of the Apollo program, progress resumed. As this documentary works its way through the Apollo missions, it pays special and increasing attention to those which made the most history, especially Apollo 8, Apollo 11 and Apollo 13. The Apollo story is told through a combination of interviews with several surviving members of NASA mission control during the Apollo years, a significant amount of archival footage and some modern animation.

"Mission Control: The Unsung Heroes of Apollo" is a fascinating, well-balanced and entertaining documentary. It's always fun to learn something new and learning about the Apollo story through this film is about as much fun as such a thing gets. The interviews personalize the Apollo mission control experience and director David Fairhead and his team keep the clips short and the editing crisp. It's surprising how much archival footage exists to illustrate the history the film tells us and it's all well-placed throughout the movie. All this is supplemented by terrific computer animation which shows us some of the most important moments in Project Apollo like they've never before appeared in a single feature film. This documentary is so good, I was wishing it were longer than it is. "A-"
2017-04-17
A tremendous film
What a beautiful film. The interviews and archival footage and VFX come together and you are able to step back in time and relive the space program's evolution through the eyes of the heroes of the program. I was immediately swept back to my childhood and sitting in front of the large black and white Motorola television with my dad, former US Army Air Corps pilot, watching the moon landing. The pride our nation felt and the amazement of it all - I'll never forget it. Through the interviews in the film, the director really captures the essence of who these men were and what drove them to lead and become a team. I hope all young people will see this film to see the true spirit of our nation, the incredible contribution of these heroes to our country and the advancement of science, and the emotional attachment to the program we as civilian observers all shared through the Apollo years.
2017-04-15
"Mission Control: The Unsung Heroes of Apollo": It's about time!
As far as I'm aware there has not been a film produced and dedicated to the genuine unsung heroes of Mission Control who shined so spectacularly during the transcendent era of NASA first landing men on the moon. And my question is.......Why the hell NOT?!

Well, the good news is that thanks to British Director and expert Editor David Fairhead now there FINALLY is at last a fitting tribute to the extraordinary pioneers who were so crucially instrumental in rocketing The United States to victory in "The Space Race" of the 1960's and '70's. For we now have the stunning new documentary "Mission Control: The Unsung Heroes of Apollo". And, man, I'm here to tell ya it is worth the wait!

Fairhead has done a resolutely masterful job of chronicling the birth and next-to-impossible meteoric emergence of NASA in the wake of the Russians successfully blasting Sputnik 1 into Earth orbit in 1957. Through a riveting series of actual footage and news reports of the period seamlessly interwoven with jaw-dropping outer spacecraft flight recreation and interviews with representatives of the engineering team who integrated peerlessly to transform dreams into unparalleled achievement, Fairhead fashions a narrative that is as rousing and thrilling as it is richly informative and educational.

For my money, the highlight of "Mission Control" are the interviews Fairhead conducted and intersperses throughout his remarkable production with the men who made it all happen both in our world as well as in the vast heavens above. The ambitious filmmaker secured riveting and revealing chats with the iconic likes of US Space Program leaders Chris Craft and Gene Kranz together with legendary astronauts Jim Lovell and the late Gene Cernan. And while the remarks and observations of these larger-than-life figures resonate profoundly, it is the words of the lesser known members of this steadfastly committed crew that really struck most poignantly. You see my own dad, Olav Smistad, worked with these gentlemen and knows most of them personally. And while his involvement with the Mission Control unit was cursory during the Gemini Program, his experience as a gifted and talented aerospace engineer and true pro with NASA mirrors exactly the unfaltering can-do sensibility of the exceptional guys featured in the film.

Certainly I am bias. Yes, I am resoundingly pro-American Space Program. Sure I believe in the immensely talented and enthusiastic men and now the women (of whom there were none to speak of on the front lines of NASA in it's infancy) of the agency who are accomplishing so much, but who could realize so much more with the backing of their government, which was powerfully and consistently supportive in the formative and solidifying years of the national space exploration initiative. Now if we want to travel into space we have to hitch a ride with Russia.

It should NEVER be this way.

May "Mission Control: The Heroes of Apollo" uniformly inspire those with whom we have invested our votes, and our collective faith, into to lead this great country in facing head-on such harsh truth with thoughtful and productive comportment. In other words, DO something. And act in a manner that befits, and serves to honor, those humble heroes who were cheered on by citizens both at home and abroad every single step of the way toward and including those awe-inspiring, deeply moving moments when man wondrously walked on the moon. For there are still so many gloriously giant leaps for mankind to negotiate.

Now and forever.
2017-04-05
Documentary Offers a Candid Behind the Scenes Look
This documentary, directed by David Fairhead, offers the viewer a most candid behind the scenes look at Houston's Mission Control Center during the early U.S. space program. If focuses primarily on the Apollo Program, of the 1960's and 70's, with plenty of archival footage of the times and interviews with those that manned the control room, as well as the astronauts that flew the early missions.

The film includes the tragedy of Apollo 1 when 3 astronauts died in a capsule fire as they awaited liftoff at Cape Kennedy, the first manned orbit around the moon on Apollo 8, and, of course, the remarkable team effort to return Apollo 13 safely back to earth after a life threatening malfunction (you may have seen the movie).

Naturally, I'm not forgetting Apollo 11, where Neil Armstrong became the first man to set foot on the moon, setting off shock waves and awe around the world. It was fascinating for me, even though I have seen other movies on this subject over the years, to hear the intricate details of what went into each flight from the engineers, flight controllers, and astronauts that lived through every minute of it.
2017-08-30
One of the best Documentaries about the Mission Control!
I live in Houston. Hearing a story about the unsung heroes who worked behind the scene who worked in mission control was breathtaking.

They tell the story of the day to day life. How most of them started and didn't have any idea what they were doing. It was a group of individuals who needed to come together and work together on separate projects to ensure the success of not only the race to space but the success of future space missions to come.

The combination of real footage and interview questions to people who worked in mission control is absolutely amazing. You feel for these men, and you really feel the weight of all their decisions they had to make. As the story progress, you hear about the incredible mission success story of Apollo 13.

Absolutely one of the best documentary I've seen on this topic.
2017-09-24
Very well-made documentary of the engineers behind Apollo
I had the pleasure of seeing "Mission Control: The Unsung Heroes of Apollo" during SXSW Film 2017. I thought the documentary was well constructed, juxtaposing stills and videos from the late 1960s and early 1970s with present-day video interviews of many of the engineers who ran Mission Control at NASA. This is the kind of documentary that could easily be 10 hours, so I can understand the challenges the director faced to determine what to put in and what to leave out from the primary feature.

Several of the engineers interviewed in the movie were present on stage after the screening, including John Aaron and Jerry Bostick.

The documentary included interviews with Mission Control managers and engineers Dr. Christopher Kraft, Gene Kranz, Glynn Lunney, Jerry Bostick, John Aaron, Gerry Griffin, Ed Fendell, Sy Liebergot, and several others. It also had interviews with astronauts Gene Cernan and Jim Lovell.

The movie begins at the dawn of the Space Race with discussions of test pilots and moves quickly to the sense of urgency created when the USSR launched Sputnik and put Yuri Gagarin into space. It covers the Mercury, Gemini and Apollo programs well through Apollo 13, but then summarizes Apollo 14 through present-day ISS in only a few minutes. While the stories of Apollo 1, Apollo 8, Apollo 11, Apollo 12, and certainly Apollo 13 are incredibly engaging, I would have loved to see a bit more time devoted to events after Apollo 13, and a deeper discussion from the interviewees on how they felt as the program wound down and the last few Apollo flights were canceled.

Nevertheless, the documentary is really great, and strongly recommended. In a few more years, all the great leaders who made six moon landings and much more at NASA possible will no longer be with us. Think about that as you watch this, and consider supporting continued space exploration.
2017-03-18
Failure Is Not An Option!
I am so glad I was able to view a special presentation of this incredible film!! Growing up in the Apollo era, I was always intrigued by the men on the ground wearing headsets and staring into small TV screens, who broke into applause and hugged each other at the moment they knew the mission was successful. This film tells the story of these "Unsung Heros", mostly in their own words, and with lots of photos of them at work in that special room we know as Mission Control. It shows how they reacted to failure as well as success, and how failure served to strengthen the inherent integrity each brought to this crucial part of manned space flight. It shows how they figured out how to do their jobs in this new era of space exploration, and how important teamwork was to their endeavor. It illustrates how individual dedication works to to make the sum greater than its parts. Mission Control was, and is, a crucial part of all space flight! I am grateful to have this documentary of the special individuals that gave so much of themselves to assure the success of the Apollo Special Program!!
2017-05-02
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