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PBS will introduce “Chasing the Moon,” a four-hour documentary series as part of AMERICAN EXPERIENCE about the space race, from its earliest beginnings to the monumental achievement of the first lunar landing in 1969 and beyond. Premiering on PBS in 2019 during the 50th anniversary year of the Apollo 11 moon landing, the series is executive produced by Mark Samels and produced and directed by Robert Stone.
The logline:“Chasing the Moon” thoroughly reimagines the race to the moon for a new generation, upending much of the conventional mythology surrounding the effort. The four-part series recasts the Space Age as a fascinating stew of scientific innovation, political calculation, media spectacle, visionary impulses and personal drama. Utilizing a visual feast of previously overlooked and lost archival material, much of which has never before been seen by the public, the film features 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; Sergei Khrushchev, son of the former Soviet premier and a leading Soviet rocket engineer; Poppy Northcutt, a 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.
“When we think of that breathtaking moment of the 1969 moon landing, we forget what a turbulent time that was,” said Mark Samels, AMERICAN EXPERIENCE executive producer. “The country was dealing with huge problems — Vietnam, poverty, race riots — and there was a lot of skepticism about the space program. “Chasing the Moon” explores the unbelievably complex challenges that NASA was able to overcome. Not a week goes by when someone doesn’t say, ‘Why can’t we do something today as ambitious, as grand as putting a man on the moon?’ It was a century-defining achievement, and our film tells a familiar story in an entirely new way.”
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