From the Earth to the Moon (1998) s01e09 Episode Script

For Miles and Miles

1 We choose to go to the moon.
We choose to go to the moon.
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.
- Look at that.
- That's beautiful.
It's gotta be one of the most proud moments of my life, I guarantee you.
With a flight that lasted just 15 minutes, Alan Shepard became America's first astronaut.
In a parabolic suborbital arc, his tiny Mercury spacecraft climbed to an altitude of just 1 16 miles.
He experienced only about four minutes of zero gravity.
Couldn't see where he was going because there was no forward-facing window and he splashed down just 302 miles from where he had started.
Those 15 minutes in the spring of 1961 were just a taste of other longer flights America's first astronaut planned on making.
But as fate would have it, Alan Shepard would spend his next ten years wondering if those 15 minutes were all he was allowed in humankind's voyage from the Earth to the moon.
They should give you a manual for this thing.
Damn, son, where on earth did you get that thing? - You're gettin' old, boy.
- Stop messin' with that thing.
I ain't gonna take no damn picture.
- Take a picture for him.
- I'm not gonna take a picture.
Just take a picture.
I promised my boy.
They're gonna bring him nowhere near here.
Mr Taylor said that we could meet him.
- Oh, Mr Taylor told you that? - Yes, he did.
He wouldn't lie about that.
If you ask me, Shepard's flight wasn't such a big deal, anyway.
Just a few more guys to meet and greet, then I promise it's all business.
- More hands to shake? - You should be used to it by now.
- I mean, he didn't orbit.
- He's right about that.
- It was just like that monkey.
- Well, all I know is he was first.
These gentlemen are our drillers.
Hey, boys, how's it goin'? - Mr Taylor.
- How are ya? Like for you to meet Alan B Shepard, our first astronaut in space.
Commander Shepard, a pleasure.
- Bud, how are ya? - Honoured to meet you.
- My boy thinks the world of you.
- All right.
How are you? Good to meet you.
You boys are workin', huh? - Yes, sir.
- Hot one, eh? - OK.
Good to meet you.
- Good to meet you.
Finally give you a chance to see what your money's buying.
Hopefully, oil.
Commander Shepard.
Is it true you're gonna command the first Gemini mission? I'm sure whatever NASA's plans are, they'll be announcing them soon.
Maybe you'll be the first to the moon too.
I'm the best pilot they got.
I wouldn't bet against him if I were you.
- Could I get a picture with you? - All right, guys.
No more questions.
The man did come here for a reason.
What is this test we're doing today? We have a logging crew to check for hydrocarbons in the well, which gives us a rough idea of its potential.
They have a probe they'll be lowering down to take a look at You all right, Al? I'm all right.
Somebody get a doctor! Charlie.
Guess I'll have to learn to fly left-handed.
God, I wish we'd had this translational control on Mercury.
- Now you got a real window.
- Yeah.
OK, here is the O2 high-rate recheck.
Whose job is that? - I think that would be my function.
- Yes, sir.
- This is a beautiful craft.
- Yes, sir.
I gotta go to the head.
Steppin' out, boys.
Need you to log out as usual.
That son of a bitch is like a sports car.
A little two-seater.
It's nice.
- What's on your mind, Tom? - You've sure been going to the head a lot.
I'm on a diuretic.
- You're takin' medication? - Yeah.
I've had a couple dizzy spells.
I think it's a viral infection in my ear.
- Flight surgeons know? - Yeah.
They sure it's a virus? Is there a chance they could ground you? Tom I don't know yet.
I've got some tests I gotta do on Monday.
Just keep a lid on it until then, OK? OK.
I mean, it's just, you know, Deke doesn't want to split up the crews.
- I know.
- So if you were out, I could be out too.
I know.
"Flight surgeon's report.
Patient: Shepard, Alan B.
"Date: June 1 0, 1 963.
"Symptoms: hearing loss and ringing in right ear, "occasional attacks of extreme nausea and vertigo.
"Diagnosis: excess fluid in inner ear caused by Ménière's disease.
"Flight surgeon's recommendation: "Immediate removal from active flight status for all NASA spacecraft.
" I'd like to start by introducing the prime crew for the first manned Gemini flight, which will consist of Virgil I Grissom, command pilot, and John W Young, second pilot.
As many of you may have surmised, the big element in the choice of Gus Grissom for the command pilot of the prime crew is the fact Well, congratulations.
- On what? - On your new status.
- I hear you can fly jets again.
- With a copilot.
I never have trouble finding one.
These new guys all need stick time.
That's great.
Of course, they're not gonna let you and I fly together.
- I asked 'em.
- I know.
You heard what they said? Yeah.
"Two half pilots don't make a whole one.
" - You believe that? - Oh, shit.
So you thought any more about the job? Yeah, I've been thinkin' about it.
Come on, Al.
Not that bad.
You get to be an arrogant son of a bitch and boss everybody around.
It's fun.
That's why you're such a great boss, Deke.
Well, it wasn't exactly my first choice, you know? And if you recall, it wasn't exactly my idea, either.
So now you're paying me back? No.
I'm doing exactly what you did.
I see a need.
I know the right man for the job.
I go after him.
So happens he's available.
All right.
Come on.
You remember what it was like back in your day, the days of Mercury.
Anyway, I only answered one question.
The guy cornered me at my house.
A Houston Chronicle reporter cornered me.
What do I tell him? Tell him that you don't talk to the press without your boss's approval, period.
You let us decide what's good for the programme.
Even if he's just fact-checking a story? If you want to do a PR thing, I'll be glad to take you out of the rotation.
We could use a PR guy.
Jackie Gleason's a friend of mine.
We play golf.
Maybe I could get you on his show.
You could do a musical number with the June Taylor Dancers.
You'd like that? No.
We get you a pressure suit.
They fly you in.
- I'm just enthusiastic about the programme.
- I know.
And we love that about you.
You haven't been here that long.
Am I right? You love to talk.
You have a problem with that, you know? You talk to the wrong people.
Didn't you get attention as a child? - Stu.
- This isn't the first time! - I can come back.
- Stu, are you flying to the Cape, Friday? Yeah.
Why? Let's go.
I'm good, Al.
How are you? OK, let me guess.
"Labyrinthine reactions indicated by nystagmus "accompanied by continued tinnitus "suggest abnormal endolymphatic fluid pressure "on the semicircular canal and cochlea.
" Got it? Your mother said to save the dog.
Dad, I hope you have a good time tonight.
- I wish I could go.
- You do? No, you don't.
It's not gonna be any fun.
I do, though.
Why would you want to go when I don't want to go? Picasso, you don't want to go, do you? - Good night.
- Night.
- Want me to drive? - No, I got it.
May 5, 1 961, the beginning of a new era.
A Bartlett Shepard's destiny was first recognised in a secluded field not far from home.
Soon after, Alan B Shepard Jr answered his country's call and volunteered his talents as a naval aviator.
In this capacity he sallied forth on mission after mission.
Onward to the fledgling space programme, where only two had gone before.
Fellow pioneers into the unknown Ham and Enos.
This would be his legacy.
Good evening, ladies and gentlemen, I'm Deke Slayton, the only astronaut who's been in space for less time than Alan Shepard.
Alan Shepard may only have flown in space for 15 minutes but he's given this programme seven years of commitment and expertise.
And it gives me great pleasure to introduce a great pilot and a great astronaut and a good friend, Mr Alan B Shepard Jr.
OK, Al baby, you're on.
- Schirra had nothing to do with this? - I don't think.
Thank you all very much.
- That's it, gentlemen.
- Come on.
Come on back.
There's still liquor left.
I've never known the brass to walk away from free liquor.
Oh, well, in that case! Maybe one.
No, seriously, I want to say thank you for this.
It's been an honour and a great privilege to be able to serve my country working with all of you and to further man's exploration of space.
I wouldn't trade any of it for anything.
Thank you.
One thing I neglected to mention Is he retiring? Not that I know of.
Why doesn't he? I mean, he's got all that money and he's never gonna fly again.
I don't know.
Maybe he is.
That guy was drivin' me nuts.
I dumped it in Deke's lap.
- Deke's gonna take care of it.
- Your lunch is on time.
The board meeting's 3:00.
I got you the 5:00 tee time.
- That's good.
- You be in tomorrow? - We'll see.
- Tom would like a minute.
- Hey, Tom.
- How are you doin'? - Want to walk with me to the car? - Sure.
Fred is now an ear, nose and throat man in Los Angeles.
On my last trip out, I looked him up.
He let me watch some surgeries.
We got to talking and he's pretty curious about your problem.
What's the latest with that? First off, thanks but I've been to my share of doctors with this thing and the general consensus is that either it goes away on its own, or it doesn't.
I don't feel the symptoms any more but every time I think that I've got it beat, some doctor tells me otherwise.
Has anybody suggested surgery? For Ménière's disease, there's no such thing.
What I do is I insert a small silicone tube right in the ear canal and that drains off excess fluid into the spinal column.
And that works? I predict about a 60% chance of nu future vertiginous episodes.
But I could lose my hearing? In the affected ear, yes.
There's a small possibility.
Look why don't you just take some time and think about it? If you have other questions, I'd be glad to answer them for you.
I know, the medication is making you drowsy.
Go ahead.
OK, I want you to breathe normally and think of something pleasant.
A trip to Hawaii, perhaps.
You're doing just fine.
You don't have any idea who that is, do you? Him? Victor Poulos, according to his bracelet.
That is America's first astronaut.
Oh, right.
I think I'd recognise John Glenn.
There are a number of steps that PINGS automates that on an AGS abort must be performed manually, like pitching you over, switching the guidance system, separating the stages and throttling up to 100%.
Now, of course, the AGS computer only has a fraction of the PINGS's 39-kilobyte capacity.
Six K, I think.
Bruce, I think it's five.
Just enough to execute a manual abort if the PINGS fails.
I think we could land with it.
You'd have a tough time finding the right place without the TGO guidance algorithm.
We could get close.
I've played with it in the simulator.
Sorry I'm late.
You're covering the guidance systems operations, right? - Yeah, that's what we're doing now.
- Great.
Don't let me interrupt.
What's he doin' here? Let me get this straight.
Shepard marches into Deke's office and says, "Give me Apollo 13"? Something like that.
"All right, Al.
Let's see.
"You haven't flown in eight years.
"You never orbited the Earth.
"Never set foot in a Gemini or Apollo capsule, or never served as backup.
"So why don't we make you the command pilot for the next lunar landing?" Guess he just stayed at the top of the rotation this whole time, huh? Did you hear that they offered McDivitt a spot on Al's crew? - What'd he say? - Turned 'em down.
He told Deke he didn't think Shepard's ready.
Oh, man.
You don't have a problem flying with Shepard? Why should I? Flight surgeons don't have a problem.
Deke doesn't have a problem.
Do you? - Take it easy.
I'm just asking you.
- I'm just answering you.
Mitchell makes more sense.
He'll get Shepard up to speed on the LEM or cover for him but it's gonna be like havin' three rookies up there.
See you on the ground, Stu-ball.
- Hey, boss, give us the good news.
- The official? Yeah.
We've been bumped.
Headquarters did not approve us for 13.
- I thought it was just a formality.
- So did I until a couple of hours ago.
They don't think we've got enough time to train.
We got a year.
1 1's got seven months.
- Same with 12.
- They know that, Ed.
I told Deke that we'd be ready.
He says that he told them.
But they're giving it to They're giving it to Lovell, Mattingly and Haise.
You've got to be kidding me.
We still got a good shot at 1 4.
We'll know about that soon.
- Did we do something wrong? - No.
They know how sharp you guys are.
We all know how sharp you guys are.
Then what are they worried about? - Put yourself in their position.
- I don't get it.
They've seen you train.
They're just being cautious.
How would it look if they gave me the flight and something went wrong? I'm much younger than Alan Shepard and I'm still in excellent physical condition.
But there's been a lot of empire building going on and politics.
I would've loved to head my own lunar flight.
But I'm not gonna compromise my belief that a man should be fully dedicated to the programme beyond his own personal ambitions, that's all.
Boy, harsh words from a former colleague, Al.
Well, that's Gordo.
Well, all right.
So, Al, what we're tryin' to do here is a little tease.
- We're trying to create a tease.
- Sure.
A piece of film we can put in the beginning.
Where you go into it.
It was a rough comeback and it seemed like you wouldn't make it, and you finally did and I'm gonna try to think of a question that hopefully will lead you into that.
Maybe I'll ask something about Apollo 13, which at one point was gonna be your mission and the same thing with Apollo 1, if you hadn't been grounded.
So in retrospect, two incredible strokes of luck.
We'll just go into it.
Ask a question.
We'll see what happens.
We'll see what comes up naturally, OK? We rolling? - I'm ready.
- You ready? Two.
As the launch date for Apollo 1 4 approaches, NASA reels from cutbacks and waning support.
America's first astronaut, Alan Shepard, now 47, prepares to become the oldest American to fly in space.
It's been a long road back to flight status for Al, made possible by an experimental ear surgery.
So, Al, tell me, given your medical history and limited space experience, would you have chosen yourself to rescue the space programme after the near-tragedy of Apollo 13? Well, Jules, I certainly feel more than up to the task.
I've had my ups and downs like everybody else.
But those problems are behind me now.
In fact, I'm in better physical condition than I've been in years.
Here we go.
20 seconds.
Guidance still up.
The guidance system now going into You have to remember that it's not just me going.
There's Edgar Mitchell Stu Roosa and thousands of people involved in the Apollo programme.
Three, two, one, zero.
She's goin'.
Everything's good.
Cabin pressure coming down.
Adjusting from sea level to a space environment.
Status check, ignition controls coming up all green Communication has been a little dicey.
There's been some interference, though it's been consistent.
So I'm not concerned about it if you guys aren't.
You know, what I find disconcerting is the delay in the relay.
It's a constant reminder of how far we are from Earth.
Al, we thought you might be interested in knowin' we have a Dr House down here.
He'll be monitoring the progress of the mission for the next few minutes.
Good evening.
Glad to have you aboard.
- Thanks.
Great to be here.
- He's wavin' back at you.
Tell him I'm OK, Freddo.
I'm OK.
He rogers that.
Kitty Hawk, Houston.
You are go for undocking.
Roger, Houston.
Go for undocking.
And we're free.
Very good.
OK, we had a normal undocking, Houston.
Dead band minimum.
Go to P-0-0.
Yaw left 60.
Pitch up 90.
OK, starting left yaw, Stu.
Boy, you look mighty pretty out there.
And starting to pitch up.
- Flight, Control.
- Rog, Control.
Gettin' an indication here.
We're getting an abort command.
CAPCOM? Antares, the abort switch on the computer looks set.
Do you have a 1 in register one? That's affirmative, Houston.
Neither of you boys has your thumb on the abort button, do you? That's a negative, Houston.
All right.
We'd like to proceed to reset the abort signal.
OK, give me the word.
OK, we need the stop push button, push.
Stop push button, push.
The next thing's the abort push button, depress.
Then wait one on reset.
Abort push button, depress.
Standing by on that one.
You can reset.
No change, Houston.
That didn't clear it, Flight.
Something had better before the descent burn.
Or the computer will initiate an auto-abort.
Suggestions? Have 'em tap on the panel.
Maybe it's a loose ball of solder behind that switch.
All right.
Let's do that.
Ed, we'd like you to tap on the panel around the abort push button.
See if we can shake somethin' loose.
Yes, Houston.
It just changed while I was tapping there.
Well, you sure tap nicely.
I'm very good at that.
We'd just kind of like to sit here a minute and watch it.
I'm sure there's a way to lock that out.
- Lock out the switch? - Yeah.
Tell the computer to ignore it.
Well, I sure hope so.
We get that during the descent, this turns into a bad day.
I just don't know how quickly they can come up with it.
Control, what have you got? Flight, MIT's lookin' at a software work-around.
If we can't keep that switch from closing, we have to make sure the guidance computer doesn't abort the landing.
- You got that right.
- We'll find the guy who wrote the code.
We got one orbit left to do this.
Don? - Don? - What? Somehow the abort discrete is set.
- The one in channel 30? - Yeah.
We have to write something to disable the switch so the computer ignores it.
It can't ignore it during the burn.
So the crew has to wait and enter our changes after ignition.
Can you get up? What, and then race through the keystrokes hoping the switch doesn't close again? I need coffee.
I need Saltzman.
We gotta start from the beginning on this.
Houston, Antares.
LPD altitude shows 49,000.
Roger, Antares.
OK, I have Cone Crater, triplet and doublet.
Copy that, Al.
Good Lord.
They look just like they're supposed to.
There they were, right below us, big as life.
Don't worry.
We're gonna see 'em again.
Freddo, I guess you'll advise us on that abort switch? I'm workin' on a little spiel right now.
All right.
Whatever fix they give us, I want time to get it entered before the burn.
If they're trying to lock out the switch, we may have to wait till after the burn.
- Why? - It's part of PDI.
It's in the computer.
It'll look for it.
And if it closes then, it'll abort the landing.
OK, Ed, you and Al ready to listen to words on the abort switch business? - Go ahead with it.
- OK.
The procedure is Verb-2-5-Noun-0-7, Enter.
1- 0-5, Enter.
4- 0-0, Enter.
0, Enter.
I'll read back.
"Verb-2-5-Noun-0-7, Enter.
"0-5, Enter.
" Is it "4-0-0-0, Enter"? OK, Ed.
It's 400.
4-0-0, Enter.
That's 4-0-0.
Got it? OK.
We have to let the burn call up normally, get ignition, then lock out the bit, hopefully before it gets set, right? - That's affirmative.
- That's a load.
They've got to come up with a better solution.
If not, I'll just have to haul ass punching it in and hope.
We don't want them rushing with this.
OK? One wrong keystroke could cause any number of problems, all of them mission critical.
Can we just hold off? Just let us hold off until we come up with another fix.
No, I All right.
What did they say? They have to give the crew something before they pass behind the moon.
We got 47 minutes to come up with something better.
Let's take it easy entering those changes.
Make sure they're right.
I will.
Now, if the switch closes before you're done and it aborts us, there's nothing we can do, right? Let's see if we can't get ahead of ourselves on that checklist.
All right.
Guys, this is definitely the better fix.
If we set the program monitor to 7 1 before the burn, the computer is not even gonna look at the abort monitor because it already thinks it's in the abort mode.
So there'll be a little bit of a cleanup on the descent but they're not gonna be in a rush.
Antares, Houston.
Stand by, Houston.
Helmet and gloves, on.
Cabin repress, closed.
Cabin repress, closed.
Go ahead, Houston.
We've got more procedures to pump up that are gonna alter what you've copied.
We think we've found a slicker way of doing this to make the computer ignore the abort command if the switch gets set again.
Stand by, Houston.
All right.
Go ahead, Houston.
"Verb-2-1 "Noun-0-1, Enter.
"0-1-0-1, Enter.
"1-0-1-0, Enter.
" - That's it.
- OK, Houston.
It's in.
Roger, Antares.
And Antares, standing by for PDI go.
Antares, standing by for PDI go.
Antares, standing by.
- Looks good here, Flight.
We're go.
- Tell 'em.
Antares, Houston.
You are go for Fra Mauro.
Good show, Freddo.
- You troops do nice work.
- I'll second that.
Four, three, two, one.
We have auto-ignition.
Antares, you are go at four.
And guidance looks good.
Down to 32,000 feet.
Should be getting landing radar very soon.
Come on, radar.
Let's have a lock-on.
We got altitude and velocity lights.
Come on, radar.
We can land without radar.
I can do that if we have to We'd have to pitch over anyway before we'd abort.
Let's just see where we are, right? If we can see our landing site When we do pitch over, let's hope we are at 7,000 feet and not a lot lower.
Flight, we need that radar by 10,000 feet if we're gonna land.
Houston, we still have altitude and velocity lights.
Come on, radar.
Control, what you got? Flight, let's try resetting the landing radar circuit breaker.
Do it.
Antares, Houston.
We'd like you to cycle the landing radar breaker.
Copy that.
OK, Houston.
It's cycled.
- Bingo! - OK.
Got it.
Verb-57, Enter.
How's that look, Houston? Can we accept? Can we accept? Stand by, Antares.
OK, we'd like to accept the radar.
Converge, proceed.
That was close.
And we have pitch-over, Houston.
Roger, Antares.
- Outstanding.
- Right on the money.
Here we go! Fat.
Fat as a goose.
- That's beautiful.
- 3,000 feet.
7 5 feet a second.
OK, I'm going to move forward a little.
1,000 feet.
Right a little.
Looks good from here, Al.
You're 500 feet.
Fuel is good at 10%.
You're at 170 feet.
Two feet per second down.
You're on your own.
Starting down.
Starting down.
It says 90 feet, 4 feet per second.
Five feet per second.
Sixty seconds of fuel remaining.
Three feet per second, 30 feet.
Looking great.
Twenty feet.
Contact, Al.
OK, Houston.
We made it through the landing.
- All right! - I'm on the surface.
You did it, Al.
Wanna take a walk? OK, Houston.
Let me comment that it is a stark place here at Fra Mauro.
It's made all the more stark by the fact that the sky is completely black.
Starting down the ladder, I can see the reason we have a tilt.
It's because we landed on a slope.
The landing gear struts appear to be about evenly depressed.
OK, Al.
I can see you on the surface.
Not bad for an old man.
It's been a long way but we're here.
Goes in very easy.
Take a picture this way, Ed.
Then we'll swing it around so they can see it on the television.
All right? OK, Houston.
We're proceeding onward now Stand by.
While you look that up, you might recognise what I have in my hand as the handle for the contingency sample return.
It just so happens to have a genuine six-iron on the bottom of it.
In my left hand, I have that white pellet familiar to millions of Americans.
I'll drop it down here.
This suit is so stiff, I can't do this with two hands but I'm gonna try a sand trap.
You got more dirt than ball that time, Al.
Here we go again.
There we go! Straight as a die! Miles and miles and miles!
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