“We choose to go to the Moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard ... because that challenge is one that we are willing to accept, one we are unwilling to postpone, and one which we intend to win.” President John F. Kennedy, 1962
HONG KONG, MAY 30, 2019 – On July 20, 1969, Neil Armstrong climbed down a small ladder to place a foot onto the moon’s surface and proclaimed, “That’s one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.” On that fateful day, with more than half a billion people worldwide watching on television, Apollo 11 became the first spaceflight to land man on the moon. Led by astronauts Armstrong, Michael Collins and Buzz Aldrin, the mission effectively ended the Space Race and fulfilled an American goal set by President John F. Kennedy. This historic feat changed the world forever.
To commemorate the 50th anniversary, National Geographic kicks off its Mission to the Moon programming event with the epic two-hour feature documentary Apollo: Missions To The Moon. The film is executive produced and directed by acclaimed Emmy and Peabody Award-winning filmmaker Tom Jennings (“Challenger Disaster: Lost Tapes,” “Diana: In Her Own Words”).
The film weaves together more than 500 hours of footage, 800 hours of audio and 10,000 photos, using Jennings’ signature style of first-person storytelling to take viewers behind the scenes. This intimate, immersive account spans the full sweep of NASA’s Apollo Space Program — from the ill-fated Apollo 1 mission, which claimed the lives of three astronauts, to the final flight that brought the program to a close.
“Beyond audio and footage of the brave astronauts, Apollo: Missions To The Moon creates a tapestry of the collective sights and sounds that brings us back to the golden age of space,” says Jennings.
The film features newly transferred film and never-before-heard audio to recount the ground-breaking, key moments of America’s goal to land on the moon before 1970. With no narration nor modern-day talking heads, the missions are experienced entirely through archival TV footage, never-before-heard radio broadcasts, home movies, NASA film and mission-control audio to create an eyewitness-like experience. The film includes several firsts, including the combination of NASA footage with “black-box” recordings from Apollo capsules and the synchronization of 30-track audio from mission control.
“Apollo: Missions To The Moon unveils what was happening not only on the ground at mission control but also in the homes of the families and friends who stood by as their loved ones took to the skies,” says Jennings. “The whole world stopped for a moment to rejoice and take pride in the boundless sense of courage and optimism that Apollo made possible.”
“Apollo: Missions To The Moon is not just a show; it’s an experience,” says Geoff Daniels, executive vice president of global unscripted entertainment at National Geographic. “It’s filled with intimate, exquisite moments that put you on the edge of your seat and reveal the human face of heroism at a time when our country — and the world — was deeply divided. Apollo renewed our purpose and passion for space exploration, which is deeply woven into our human DNA and at the core of National Geographic. Now, 50 years later, this film could not be more relevant; it reminds us what we can achieve together and has the power to transform us all.”
Composed by James Everingham for Bleeding Fingers Music and produced by Academy Award, Golden Globe, Tony Award and Grammy Award winner Hans Zimmer and Emmy-nominated Russell Emanuel, the film’s score captures the spirit of the time. The predominantly orchestral score features electronically manipulated sounds from the 1960’s heyday of NASA space explorations, including the Apollo mission open radio frequencies, the Kepler Star and Sputnik’s telemetry beacon.
Apollo: Missions To The Moon is produced by 1895 Films for National Geographic Documentary Films. For 1895 Films, Jennings is executive producer and director. For National Geographic Documentary Films, Bernadette McDaid is executive producer and commissioning editor and Hamish Mykura is executive vice president of programming and development.
In addition to Apollo: Missions To The Moon headlining National Geographic’s Mission To The Moon, the special programming event will feature the following:
The Armstrong Tapes
Premieres in Hong Kong and South East Asia on July 20, 2019, 9.00 PM HKT
Take a personal and in-depth look at the first man to set foot on the moon: Neil Armstrong, one of the world's greatest and least-understood heroes.
Rookie Moonshot: Budget Mission to the Moon
Premieres in Hong Kong and South East Asia on July 20, 2019, 10.00 PM HKT
The story of SpaceIL, a small company with a dream to develop the first ever private spacecraft to attempt a moon landing.
Apollo: Back to the Moon
Premieres in Hong Kong and South East Asia on July 27, 2019, 9.00 PM HKT
The Apollo 11 mission deserves to be re-examined with a fresh perspective, detailing the journey of the people who took part in or aided the mission.
Apollo 8: The Mission That Changed The World
Premieres in Hong Kong and South East Asia on August 3, 2019, 9.00 PM HKT
Apollo 8 was more than just the first manned mission to the moon, it brought the world together in a time of conflict and started a new campaign.
Challenger Disaster: The Final Mission
Premieres in Hong Kong and South East Asia on August 3, 2019 10.00 PM HKT
We follows the story of the Space Shuttle Challenger and its crew, specifically Christa Mcauliffe, the first civilian to be launched into space. Using rarely seen images and audio recordings, the show takes viewers behind the scenes of this compelling and historic story in a way never before seen.