The United States’ moon program, the Apollo program, has often been mentioned as the peak of the big Space Race between the US and the Soviet Union. While the program was still going on, NASA produced a series of very interesting documentaries, one for each mission. The majority of these are available at the Internet Archive.
As far as I know, there was never an official title for this series. Each part was produced as a stand-alone piece to be released after the respective mission. The title The History of Apollo was used as the subtitle of a DVD compilation of these films, and I thought it made for a nice umbrella title.
The editing and narration are fairly low-key. There is some focus on the technical aspects of the missions, and compared to many later Apollo documentaries, there is little about the astronauts’ feelings and practically nothing about their private lives. There is also nothing about the politics behind the missions. For my own part, I find this to be a refreshing change. We get to focus on the process of getting men on the moon, and that is as it should be.
Here is a list of all the parts, and links to the Internet Archive for each.
- The Apollo 4 Mission & The Apollo 5 Mission
- (not sure if an Apollo 6 episode exists)
- The Flight of Apollo 7
- Apollo 8 – Go for TLI
- Apollo 9 – Three to Make Ready
- Apollo 10 – Green Light for Lunar Landing (not available at the Internet Archive)
- Apollo 11 – The Eagle Has Landed
- Apollo 12 – Pinpoint for Science
- Apollo 13 – Houston, We Have a Problem
- Apollo 14 – Mission to Fra Mauro
- Apollo 15 – In the Mountains of the Moon
- Apollo 16 – Nothing so Hidden
- Apollo 17 – On the Shoulders of Giants
The “missing” Apollo 10 episode can probably be found on other Internet sites.
This series is best enjoyed if you are interested in a specific mission – or if you are really into the big Space Race and the Cold War. The documentaries are very good, and a nice document of a historically important period. At between 15 and 30 minutes of length for most they are quick watches, but the entire series, especially in one sitting, is a bit over the top.
The History of Apollo
Download link (Apollo 11 episode)
Year: 1968 – 1973
Running time: 4 h 49 min
Director: Ted Lowry
Image quality: Acceptable
Sound quality: Good