The Rocket That Took Us To The Moon (Space Race Documentary) | Timeline

The Rocket That Took Us To The Moon (Space Race Documentary) | Timeline



July 1969 Apollo 11 is go for launch – 25 seconds and counting we are gold after a decade of work NASA is less than three days from putting a man on the moon if missions sequence start I believe that this nation should commit itself to achieving the goal of landing a man on the moon and returning him safely to the earth but in 1961 when Kennedy pledged to put him out on the moon NASA had a little idea of how to get there it was the most audacious thing nASA has ever attempted in his history when America says it's gonna do something it does it a new rocket was needed to rise to the challenge but developing such a colossal machine would push science and engineering to its limits these were people who weren't going to accept that failure was an option what they achieved is little short of remarkable it is still the most powerful rocket ever built this film tells the incredible story of how NASA build the machine the flew man to the moon we have you gopher but your gopher November 1961 NASA pilots test the x-15 rocket plane speeding to Mach 6 NASA reaches out for the edge of space but unbeknown to the American public these rocketry milestones have been built on technology from an unlikely source 1940 World War two rages as London burns under relentless aerial bombardment but deep within Nazi Germany Hitler's plans for a new long-range super weapon are being hatched the v2 rocket is the world's first ballistic missile and will Libra defenseless but the v2 has come at a great cost to the Nazi war effort however these early lessons in rocketry will mark the surprising first steps towards manned spaceflight and the mastermind behind the v2 rocket scientist Verner von Braun will later become an unlikely giant of the American space program at the end of the war US agents capture over 100 German scientists including von Braun and recruit them to develop weapons for the US Army the story of von Braun's arrival in the States dates back much further than that it was very clear that the Allies were winning the war they had to decide who they should surrender to they were too concerned about the treatment that they would get from the Russians and that left the United States von Braun and his team were shipped over to the States in September 1945 along with 15 tons of paperwork and more than a hundred v2 rockets on arrival in America von braun continues to develop the v2 rocket for the US Army working on the Rockets captured from Nazi Germany von Braun and his team were clearly interested in pushing the technology forwards improving the performance of the v2 refining some of the systems that control the flight eventually they started flying two-stage Rockets where the v2 was the first stage and they had an additional booster as the second stage with this small young missile called the WAC corporal fresh out of Pasadena California the v2 whack corporal combination marked for the first time the blending in action of American and German rocket brains a combination that was destined to have its rendezvous with history as the Cold War gathers momentum both superpowers realize that conflict will be won or lost on the power of technology with missiles reaching higher and higher altitudes it becomes clear that the ultimate symbol of superiority will be the conquest of space the space race was essentially an arms race but rather than using weapons of war it was about the development of space technology this battle between two competing superpowers communism capitalism the United States and the Soviet Union and what better stage could there be for you to convince the rest of the world that your system was superior than the stage of space exploration supremacy in space was vital it said to the world we have the technological superiority over our rivals and this is why it came as such a shock to the United States when the Russians launched the first artificial satellite to orbit the earth all the people on this fast shrinking planet heard about it many of them watched it all of them read about in 1957 the u.s. learns of several spectacular Soviet space victories that send shockwaves across America on October the 4th 1957 the Soviet Union launched Sputnik one the world's first artificial satellite Sputnik really put the United States into crisis it was a global event the Americans were absolutely shocked that a dictatorship suddenly beats them to the first hurdle which was to put the first object into orbit around the earth every day it was orbiting the Earth 16 times and every day it was passing over American territory there was nothing they could do about it and that's why it has such a powerful effect on their psyche on November 3rd 1957 the earth second artificial satellite went into orbit one month later America suffers further humiliation a Sputnik 2 carries life into orbit a dog named Laika this hasn't got a primitive radio transmitter inside this has got a living complex organism on board like heard the dog it was a massive leap in the eyes of the public and technologically as well in desperation the United States looked to the Vanguard nearly 200 news men from all over the world were flown down for the big turkey shoot and inside the blockhouse the tension steadily mounted America's prestige had never been lower than at this moment is number six 1957 it's a terrible feeling when things don't go right and it's also a terrible feeling when things don't go right for your colleagues you feel dreadfully for other engineers as people were basking in the or over Sputnik this was called flop Nick because of course it got nowhere it was at that point the American army with Verner von Braun were unleashed to launch a satellite within sixty days and von Braun and his army team launched the first American satellite on the 31st of January 1958 in 1958 Washington forms a research organization to accelerate an American space program NASA is born von Braun was enveloped within this expanding NASA organization that hoovered up all of those different departments of Air Force Army and civilian activities to create the infrastructure that could mobilize major programs von Braun and his men immediately begin work on a heavy lift vehicle that they believe will give America the lead in the space race having stumbled there every hurdle in the race there was further humiliation for the United States with a launch of Yuri Gagarin he was the first human being to orbit the Earth and that's all he did one complete orbit and then lands successfully I say that's all he did but we need to remember of course that every second he was traveling five miles and he landed as a global hero he was fated by the Soviet Union as a triumph of what was possible under a communist Society it really put a lot of pressure on the White House how could you have let our country fall behind so badly how could it be possible that the Russians could launch an artificial satellite and then secondly launch a human being so the Americans felt this very very deeply indeed Kennedy said at the time we're going to have to take more hits before we pull ahead and that was the view simply head down focus keep going one month later the United States responds with Project Mercury and launches astronaut Alan Shepard to become America's first man in space [Applause] started this is freedom celebri-tea allowing clear control is food what a beautiful view although Shepherds flight is a success President Kennedy believes America must now show the world they can supersede all Soviet achievements I believe that this nation should commit itself to achieving the goal before this decade is out of landing a man on the moon and returning him safely to the earth no single space project in this period will be more impressive to mankind or more important for the long-range exploration of space and none will be so difficult or expensive to accomplish god speed John Glenn Kennedy's pledge will inspire the American people calm hysteria and unite an army of engineers to take up his challenge but in 1963 NASA has little idea of how to build a rocket capable of flying beyond Earth orbit vom brown's favored design is a colossal rocket known as the nova capable of launching a large lunar lander this heavy spacecraft would fly directly to the moon to land on its surface before returning to earth when NASA was doing the very early designs for the whole Apollo mission they developed a specification for rocket which was never built called the Nova rocket which would have been absolutely immense in size the whole front end of which would have been a spacecraft weighing about 45 or 50 tons this would have been such a colossal spacecraft with such weight that people did not know even if the surface of the moon was sufficient to support the weight of such a colossal stage the Nova design is eventually abandoned due to cost and complexity NASA commits to an alternate design a smaller launch vehicle comprised of three main stages consisting of fuel tanks and engines each individual stage will burn at a specific time during launch this stage design allows the heavy fuel tanks and engines to be discarded once used up reducing the weight of the rocket as it climbs higher this rocket will become an iconic symbol of the Apollo program the mighty Saturn 5 the Saturn 5 will send a small Apollo spacecraft to the moon unlike Nova the Apollo spacecraft will be made of two modules with only a lightweight Lander descending to the moon's surface this Lander can then rendezvous with the Maine spacecraft and return to Earth but before building the Saturn 5 NASA must expand their understanding of multistage rockets work begins immediately on the Saturn one a smaller test vehicle needed for trialing stage designs just five months after Kennedy's pledge the first Saturn one is ready for launch over the next four years NASA successfully launches a total of 10 Saturn 1 rockets helping perfect the liquid fuel dynamics and multistage designs needed for the largest Saturn 5 by 1963 construction on the mighty Saturn 5 has begun with the most powerful engines ever built capable of launching man beyond Earth orbit the Saturn 5 will secure America's dominance in the space race but building such a colossal vehicle will require precision engineering on an unprecedented scale the Apollo lunar program was an absolutely enormous undertaking at the height of the program they had three hundred and seventy-five thousand people working on the project the range of skills that were required was much much broader than any single company could cover the chance of success would be maximized by bringing together the very best minds from the top companies in the United States under the direction of von Braun Boeing North American Aviation Douglas Aircraft Company and the leading computer giant IBM are all contracted to the Saturn project a new launch sites control centers and vast support complexes are built across America the first stage of the Saturn 5 consists of two main components the fuel tanks and the giant f-1 engines the 42 meter high first stage will be the largest section of the saturn v with most of its mass being made up of rocket fuel two tanks will hold kerosene and liquid oxygen for 5f1 engines many people forget about the fuel tanks but you must remember the challenges the cold temperature on the earth normally it's about minus eighty eight centigrade in Antarctica we have to go well below those temperatures for the fuel tanks to work efficiently oxygen has to be cooled down massively until it becomes a liquid to have the amounts of oxygen we need to get the Saturn 5 into orbit so first of all your fuel tanks have to function as some of the best cryogenic thermos flasks in the world but you can't make them so heavy that you're never going to get it off the ground so when you consider all of these challenges it really was pushing science to it's very limits the 5f1 engines will do the heavy lifting pushing the 3000 ton vehicle to over 8,000 kilometers per hour when you think about the Saturn 5 the mind boggles but it wasn't gonna go anywhere unless you had the right powerplant and this is where the f1 engine came in each of its engines could produce more than six hundred and twenty tons of thrust the f1 has actually been in development since 1955 but a cluster of five engines needed for the first stage will push current technology to its limits but during testing a discovery is made that threatens the entire Apollo mission what are the biggest problems they face was the issue of combustion instability the individual motors burn three tons of fuel a second imagine three tons of fuel just disappearing every second it's quite extraordinary the flow of that amount of fuel into a cauldron of burning gas is a very complex physical process the cause lies deep within the engine inconsistent fuel flow increases thrust raising pressure and restricting the fuel supply which in turn reduces thrust the decreased pressure now causes a surge of fuel again boosting the engine the cycle continues with fatal consequences they were actually getting a thrust flame which was streaking around the inside of the combustion chamber faster and faster and faster this is leading to massive instabilities that engine after engine were failing after just a few seconds and believe me what an engine of the power of the f1 fails it does so spectacularly and catastrophic thousands of engineers work tirelessly to solve the problem eventually discovering that installing baffles to balance the fuel flow leads to a smoother more stable burn when I look back at the challenges that they faced in a time when we didn't have computational fluid dynamics modeling on supercomputers what they achieved in those few short years is a little short of remarkable these were people who weren't going to accept that failure was an option they knew the time pressure they felt there was a national goal they're putting their hearts and souls into it so when they encountered difficulties and when we look at the f1 testing regime boy were there difficulties they didn't give up they just learned from the lessons and they moved on with the f1 stable the first five engine cluster on a fully developed first stage is test-fired collectively the five engines now produce an astounding 7.5 million pounds of thrust meeting von Browns original specifications the four outer engines are then fitted on gimbals to direct their thrust for in-flight course corrections it's the nearest thing you can see to an explosion that isn't quite an explosion it's quite stupendous to see something that is so nearly out of control and yet being controlled so precisely it's that balance that makes you respect the people who can design and build equipment like that although the f1 engines will only burn for two and a half minutes they are a feat of Engineering and to this day remain the most powerful single chamber liquid-fueled rocket engines ever built in parallel to the development of the first stage workers began on building the Apollo spacecraft that will fly the astronauts to the moon and back but to flight test this Apollo Hardware a new rocket is needed construction of the Saturn 1b begins immediately with a new more powerful second stage this vehicle will launch a manned Apollo spacecraft into orbit for flight testing NASA selects 16 new astronauts for 10 pioneering manned missions named project Gemini Gemini will develop the techniques critical to the future success of a lunar mission with the space program gathering momentum the American people share a new sense of optimism but one day in 1963 ladies and gentlemen there at the time you could feel it a terrible sense of loss it enshrined in the memory of all those who were there at the time in the United States the fact that what Kennedy had begun was to ignite a dream that a post-war world and that a young and far-sighted leadership could begin the process of transforming a world endangered by the threat of nuclear war that essentially the American people could themselves be mobilized to make the world a better place but instead of creating a demoralisation it brought a response of an absolute resolute determination that come what may they would get Americans on the moon by the end of the decade NASA defiantly presses on with project Gemini they make huge steps towards fulfilling Kennedy's dream and showing the world the America he believed in Gemini played an absolutely crucial role 10 manned Gemini missions packs approved all the technologies that were going to be essential if the project Apollo is going to meet its challenge of landing on the moon how do you get two spacecraft over to the earth that five miles a second to rendezvous and achieve a docking what a human being be able to survive 14 days in what we call the microgravity environment how does it feel for the United States to be a new record holder Roger congratulations longer flight durations docking maneuvers and spacewalks are all practiced and perfected by the Gemini crews for the forthcoming Apollo program construction of the Saturn fives third stage is well underway at the Douglas Aircraft Company Stage three has two main roles requiring its single j2 engine to fire twice the engine will first boost the spacecraft into Earth orbit and later reignite setting the ship on course for the moon but during j2 testing engineers encounter another serious engine problem the entire assembly exploded destroying the motor and and damaging the tests and very severe the spherical tanks designed to pressurize the fuel system had ruptured so a weld had failed and the shrapnel created an enormous explosion that destroyed the motor and also seriously damaged the test stand in subsequent investigations it was found that the weld for that sphere was at a specification and in combination with multiple tests of over pressuring the sphere the assembly had weakened and led to that failure welding the fuel tanks of the Saturn 5 has proved to be a major challenge sophisticated modifications are made to equipment in order to produce the flawless welds needed to withstand the extreme in-flight stresses all well to inspect it and subjects to a new policy of over testing to destruction the big secret with the engineering on the saturn v lay in the experience of the German rocket pioneers it was the uncompromising commitment to test test and retest and the very systematic development of one system after another that were the core of why the Saturn program worked so well despite steady progress on the first and third stages the second stage of the saturn v at north american aviation is proving more difficult due to redesigns of the Apollo spacecraft the Saturn 5 is too heavy and the weight reduction must somehow come from the second stage the original design of stage 2 uses two separate fuel tanks but designing a single fuel tank with a common bulkhead separating the two liquids will shorten stage two and dramatically reduce its weight but this leaves stage two engineers facing one of the greatest challenges of the entire build two intensely cold highly flammable liquids will now be separated by only a thin layer of insulation this common bulkhead was one of the really challenging potentially so stopping problems a difference of nearly a hundred and thirty degrees across those two cryogenic fluids hydrogen at minus 423 oxygen just the other side of this very thin wall minus 297 you couldn't have heat leak between the two and the technology was stretched to the very limit in terms of the materials that were required for this common bulkhead and all this was happening in parallel as these various stages were being developed by May 1965 the shorter and lighter second stage is near completion and in parallel the instrument unit is also under construction this circular section of the vehicle 22 feet in diameter will sit above the third stage manufactured by IBM this color holds all of Saturn fives flight guidance detection systems and flight control gyros during motor burn you've got to control the flow of fuel into the combustion chambers you've got to control the direction in which the thrust is pointing the engines are designed to move to steer the vehicle those engines have to keep moving just to keep it on track so you needed the control computers that took signals from the various sensors telling it how to gimbal the motors so that the thrust was pointing in the direction that was necessary of course you've got to think back to the 1960s and what computers were like then probably your electric watch has got more computing capacity than this hand but as with many aspects the Apollo program the small steps to advanced technology to apply them in new areas are all part of the story that leads up to you know laptops and you know computers in our car and things like that they accidentally threw off all of these benefits which society now feeds on meanwhile the Lockheed propulsion company has designed and built the launch escape system the Saturn 5 vehicle stood hundred and ten meters the final ten meters attached to the top of the command module that the astronauts actually sat in was the launch escape tower the launch escape tower was essentially to take the astronauts to a safe place in the event of a vehicle failed the rocket motor would pull the command module containing the astronauts away from the rocket and it would divert them out towards the sea the command module would come down into the water and Earth's parachutes with the astronauts out of harm's way they can be recovered by the US Navy throughout 1966 success follows success and it seems nothing can stop the Apollo program but in January 1967 disaster strikes astronauts Gus Grissom ed white and Roger Chaffee border Saturn 1b for a routine static launch test once locked inside the capsule a fire breaks out in the pure oxygen environment the fire flushes through the spacecraft killing the trapped astronauts in seconds the apollo fire was a shock the expectation was that we would have difficulties and problems there was no realization that within the design of the spacecraft itself lady plea in bedded serious engineering design flaws and so the shock was a deeply incisive and damaging to a great extent impact on morale Gus Grissom himself said we expect to lose people in this business and he said it must not stop it live the lost sadly he was one of those whose life was lost but there was a sense that just as the death of Kennedy had deepened the resolve to fulfill his commitment so too were the loss of these three lives not going to reduce in any way the effort and the determination and the resolution to press on and get on the moon by the end of the decade the Apollo program is delayed while NASA engineers apply new fire safety measures but with the end of the decade looming NASA bypasses it's reliable incremental testing strategy and proceeds with a high risk all up flight test all stages of the vehicle are assembled at the Kennedy Space Center and the first Saturn 5 rocket will be launched as Apollo form we are gold 30 seconds and counting after years of pioneering rocket design and engineering NASA's first 135 million dollar Saturn 5 is ready for liftoff I'll pay off my controllers let's play it cool final status check booster we have liftoff we have it was the most remarkable scene it was the most impressive sight the weight of a warship lifting vertically into the air it was just breathtaking Apollo 4 brings the dream of landing a man on the moon the huge step closer but before astronauts can pilot the mighty Saturn 5 further testing must take place NASA launches Apollo 6 their second unmanned Saturn 5 in April 1968 get your own program started vehicle going on without hear of 72° all by the engines fine looking good they're given a green light at this time program safety NASA expects another perfect flight but shortly after launch the Saturn 5 starts shaking violently if these vibrations continue the vehicle will break itself apart the vibration is known as Pogo NASA engineers have encountered Pogo before but never on this scale Pogo is essentially a vibration that occurs along the rocket it's created by the motion of the rocket changing the way that fuel flows along the fuel lines which then varies the thrust and it can become so violent that it actually destroys vehicle as the first stage burn ends the vibrations subside but the damage caused is about to become clear four minutes into the second stage burn two of the gentle engines lose power and shut down we have a report to the loss of engines two and three with two engines out NASA prepares for a mission abort but the remaining engines gimbal to correct the trajectory and the rocket just which is all Batum after this precarious flight NASA investigates the Pogo problem Engineers discover the Pogo vibrations ruptured a fuel line causing the engines to fail Apolo six flight data also reveals that astronauts would not have survived the van of vibrations and they've been onboard NASA must stop Pogo one point in time NASA had about a thousand engineers working on the Pogo problem NASA decided that the Pogo suppression systems that had been developed but hadn't been fitted because of the complexity in the cost and delays that they would have caused should then be fitted to or subsequent Saturn fives although engineers fit suppression measures to the first stage f-1 engines it will be several manned missions before they addressed the severe Pogo of the second stage Jay twos in October 1968 astronauts Eisley Shira and Cunningham fly aboard a Saturn 1b on Apollo 7 the first manned mission of the program we have you go perfect here go Herman they give the Apollo spacecraft a comprehensive system check out in orbit Houston is go for the very beautiful job Oh hardware works perfectly and the stage is set for further exploration December 1968 NASA chases Kennedy's deadline with Apollo 8 Apollo 8 will be both the first manned flight of the Saturn 5 and the first time man will attempt to fly beyond Earth orbit to the moon it was the most audacious thing nASA has ever attempted in his history the challenge was not just to go to the moon but to get back again Apollo 8 was arguably the boldest decision that NASA has ever made in the history of human spaceflight after years of design development and testing the Saturn 5 is handed over to the crew of Apollo 8 astronauts Anders Lovell and Borman our status board indicates that all aspects are ready spacecraft ready as we come up on the 60-second mark on a flight to the moon any big rocket launch is an assault on all your senses it rattles the fillings in your teeth I mean it literally shakes you internally the knowledge of where the vehicle was going and the hopes that were contained not just within the three people on board and not just within the thousands people who worked on the program but within the spirit of humanity the project Apollo represented here we were leaving earth and breaking that bond with our home planet to place men within the gravitational grip of another world in space my body was full of goo spins when that thirst age was real it to head toward the moon to see the velocity going up and up and up and up and up the counters on the consoles it was it was awesome I think the Apollo 8 crew saw our home planet from a perspective that that people have dreamt about for thousands of years they were the first human beings to be able to blot out every aspect of human history everyone they loved everyone they dreamt about all of the successes or their failures just to blot it out with what with a thumb it's the first time that the earth was seen not as the place that we live but as a planet floating in a black sky seemingly insignificant among the the vastness of the Stars Apollo eight successfully orbits the moon ten times and on Christmas Eve 1968 makes a historic television broadcast to the world and void and darkness was upon the face of the deep and God said let there be light and there was light when I hear the reading of the passages from Genesis it makes the hairs on the back of my neck stand up and that's 40 years later I think Apollo 8 is certainly a contender for the proudest moment of the Saturn 5 now with a fully functioning Saturn 5 NASA accelerates towards a moon landing in March 1969 Apollo nine orbits the earth for 10 days conducting the first manned flight test of the lunar module one Reverend Ron Lipton confirmed two months later Apollo 10 returns to the moon to practice landing procedures flying the lunar module just eight miles above the surface in my quarry but the view is really out of this world with all testing complete the stage is now set to attempt a lunar landing July 16th 1969 Apollo 11 astronauts Armstrong Aldrin and Collins bought their Saturn five we are gold 2009 we have ignition sequence start six all engine running we have a liftoff an Apollo 11 four days later Neil Armstrong sets foot on the moon realizing Kennedy's dream and securing America's superiority in the space race [Applause] for the next six missions the Saturn 5 maintains its 100% record between 1968 and 1972 24 men fly to the moon and 12 walk upon its surface as NASA grows in confidence crews land in mountainous and Valley terrain and explore vast areas of the Moon in surface missions lasting up to three days but on December 7th 1972 man leaves the moon for the last time Apollo 17 closes a remarkable chapter in the history of space flight in 1973 the final flight of the Saturn 5 launches America's first space station of the service of this remarkable vehicle comes to a distinguished end the legacy of the Saturn five is the number of scientists and engineers and teachers who were inspired by the sight of that magnificent outrageous rocket and standing on the launch pad I'm one of that generation that are referred to as the children of Apollo it drove my interest in in science and maths for as long as I can remember Saturn 5 was a totally remarkable vehicle he just didn't question it it was a pinnacle of engineering and a pinnacle of man's defiance of the laws of nature almost you know I can do what I want get out of the way it is still the most powerful rocket ever launched from the surface of the earth his whole purpose the whole embodiment of what it represented was to go in search of answers to questions that have been asked since the beginning of time what we are what is out there what is that moon what is it like to walk upon it the sacrifice showed us that we could do it it's about time we did it again when people imagined the moon landings I think you see an astronaut standing on the surface of the Moon and you also see that amazing rocket leaving the launch pad the coming age of space we need to be a part of it we mean a leader I can feel their hairs on the back of my neck but really beyond all that it stimulated dedicated work to shed tears when they saw that thing rise the fulfillment and the culmination of their dreams carried forward into the cosmos by such an extraordinary we'd like to give a special bag – all done American elm third baseman the difficult Duncan I'm and put their heart and all their abilities into those friend to those people tonight we give a special thank you guys bye good night follow them the Saturn 5 remains the most powerful vehicle ever built and will always be considered one of mankind's greatest technological achievements you you

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