National Geographic: Destination Space


Ten... nine...

I think it is human destiny

to expand into outer space.

In the new race to space it's just

a physical urge built, sept...

Some will go for adventure.

If you go and you ask people

why do want to go into space,

the answer is the same.

I want to experience zero g.

And then you want to just float around

for several minutes and just enjoy this.

And I want to see the view.

...six... five...

Some will find that every dream

is shadowed by a nightmare.

Space is a hostile, dangerous place.

Because I was expecting

a major breach of the station,

I mean, where the air would

just rush out.

Others will seek their fortunes.

What we really need are filling

stations in space.

...quatre... trois...

And yet others will search for answers

to where we fit in the universe.

We get signals all the time here,

I mean we've got this huge antenna

out the window here,

we've got this very

sophisticated receiver,

of course we pick up signals

all the time.

Every couple of seconds,

another signal.

...two... one...

At the dawn of a new century,

the thrill of space is back.

I think today we are entering

the golden era of space travel.

I want to see the moon of course...


And I'd like to look down

on the earth...

What's coming next may be

the greatest journey of all time.

Destination Space

In July of 1969,

half a million people of all races

and ages gather from around the globe.

Some trek for days and camp out

to witness an event

that was almost unimaginable

only ten years before.

It isn't a march to protest

the war in Vietnam...

or a rock concert in upstate New York.

It is Apollo 11.

On a small strip of the Florida Coast...

three astronauts prepare

to reach for the moon.

They are only minutes

from attempting the greatest venture

in human history.

But as Apollo 11 tears itself from

the launch pad and thunders into space,

no one is certain if the mission

will end in triumph or tragedy.

Every step of the voyage

is fraught with danger.

But most harrowing is the stage

never before attempted-landing

on the moon.

So risky is this venture,

President Nixon has a eulogy prepared

in case the lunar lander

crashes or is stranded.

Altitude 4,200.

Go for landing, over.

As Armstrong and Aldrin

approach the moon's surface,

they realize the flight computer is

steering them toward a boulder field.

Armstrong seizes control,

guiding the lander to a new spot,

more than 1,000 feet away.

Picking up some dust...

two-and-a-half down

turn to the right a little

another half

...30 seconds...

contact light

okay, engine stopped.

We copy you down, Eagle.

Only seconds of fuel remain

in the lander's tank.

Tranquility Base here.

The Eagle has landed.

In the history of humanity, a few,

rare moments are so transcendent

as to unite us all.

Okay Neil, we can see you coming down

the ladder now.

On July 20, 1969,

the planet's population-

watch transfixed as the first human

being steps onto an alien world.

That's one small step for man,

one giant leap for mankind.

These were the glory days

of space exploration.

Nothing was easier to imagine than

a succession of further triumphs.

But then something changed.

We lost interest.

Just nine months after

the first lunar landing,

television networks broadcast

soap operas instead of Apollo 13.

It took an explosion onboard

and a life-and-death drama

to grab our attention.

Houston, we have a problem.

Standby 13, we're looking at it.

The space program again

seemed to fade from public view

after Apollo 13 returned safely.

In 1986, NASA tried to rekindle

America's passion for space

by demonstrating that it was

open to anyone.

They flew Christa McAuliffe,

high school teacher and mother of two,

aboard the shuttle Challenger.

And lift-off of the

and it has cleared the tower.

Much of the nation, including

McAuliffe's family and students,

watched in horror as the disaster

played out on television.

Go ahead.

RSO reports vehicle exploded

Okay, are there any forces

headed out that way?

Yes, sir, DOD also reports that

all forces have been scrambled

and they are on their way.

The world began to wonder if space

was worth the risk of human life.

Now, at the turn of the 21st century,

we find ourselves clinging to a small

outpost on the fringe of space.

And it's a tired, tattered one.

The Russian space station Mir

was built to last five years,

but has been made to serve

more than twice as long.

Mir has aged into a balky old vehicle.

Systems switch on and off

without warning.

As American astronauts would discover,

Mir was not only quirky,

it had become downright dangerous.

Some are drawn to space because

they want to learn what lies beyond-

others crave the raw experience.

Children from all walks

share this dream of reaching space,

but few have the persistence

and talent to make it a reality.

This is a moment that takes me back

to when I was about six years old

and I first decided that

I wanted to be an astronaut.

This is looking up at your rocket.

This sends shivers down my spine

every time I think about it.

NASA astronaut Michael Foale

grew up in England,

the son of a royal air force pilot

and an American mother.

While on a childhood

visit to the states,

Foale saw John Glenn's capsule

on a national tour.

From that moment,

he wanted to soar into the sky.

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Alford Van Ronkel

Alford Van Ronkel was born on July 2, 1908 in Illinois, USA as Alford Arthur Von Ronkel. He was a writer and actor, known for Destination Moon (1950), The Bamboo Saucer (1968) and Once Upon a Scoundrel (1973). He was married to Carol. He died on March 30, 1965 in Hollywood, California, USA. more…

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Submitted on August 05, 2018

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    "National Geographic: Destination Space" STANDS4 LLC, 2024. Web. 28 May 2024. <>.

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