Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
Very Good Documentary
Laurenc SVITOK | Bratislava Slovakia | 01/27/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This two disc set "suffers" maybe from being released in the same time as fantastic and long expected Mercury set, however, it has its place in space history library. Spacecraftfilms left the usual process of creating the own documentary and just used ten original NASA (Apollo 4) or for NASA produced short movies (M.I.T. Science Reporter set). All nine M.I.T.movies are slightly below thirty minutes and are black&white, Apollo 4 is fifteen minutes and in colour. All material is mainly related to the Apollo moon programm.
It is mainly technical stuff but shown in a popular way - these movies were produced for wide public. Each movie has its own topic and so you will see the development of the Lunar Module, Apollo Command Module ( with very good footage of the Little Joe 2 test shown also in Saturn V set, just from different angle - you see the disintegration of the launcher and perfect footage of the Launch Escape Tower in action - really good!), coverage of the Apollo computer development, fuel cells, spacesuits, interview with legendary NASA doctor Charles Berry on the aspects of the space medicine from many decades ago point of view, tests and production of the heat shield,etc.
Definitely excellent addition to the sets dedicated to the particular flights and great insight into the Apollo "back-stage" activities.
If you like Apollo and if you even do not like the technical stuff you will enjoy this set, it brings the magic of the good old days back.
Laurenc Svitok, Bratislava, Slovakia"
A pity B&W TV was still in vogue back in the 60s
Dsinned | Northern California | 09/25/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Starting with Apollo 4, the unmanned, "full up", test flight of the Saturn V and CSM spacecraft in Earth orbit, this 2 disc DVD covers many crucial technological developments that led up to putting men on the Moon. There are 10 chapters, five per disc, highlighting mostly the Apollo R&D that served NASA and the American taxpayers so well.
The first chapter on Apollo 4, is about half the running time as the rest of the chapters, and the only one in color. The others are hosted by John Fitch, the television program commentator for M.I.T. Science Reporter.
Of course by today's A/V standards even for educational media, the audio and video quality of decades old black and white TV programs leaves something to be desired. This is the main reason I can only give 4 stars with my review. However, for those of us who remember, this is how TV really was back then. Nevertheless, Spacecraft films should be commended for converting these original broadcasts to DVD format, and cramming nearly 4-1/2 hours of rare and unusual subject matter about project Apollo, so as to still be around for a long time to come.
Being in the electronics industry, I was fascinated by several of the chapterized subjects, especially the Raytheon manufacturing process for the AGC (Apollo Guidance Computer). This subject is meticulously covered in the segment called "Computer for Apollo". It is truly a wonder Apollo astronauts ever orbitted the Earth, let alone landing on the Moon, by today's microelectronic's computing standards.
In the early to mid 1960s M.I.T. Instrumentation Labs, as a contractor to NASA for Project Apollo, developed one of the very earliest - if not the first - digital computer based on integrated circuits. The history of this venture deserves to be made into a movie of its own; a significant breakthrough in Computer Science just as important as the many advances in rocket science that led up to the nine successful manned trips to the Moon, and of course the six actual landings, from December 1968 through December 1972.
The coverage of North American's Command and Service modules, and Grumman's lunar module with the latter's brainchild, Tom Kelly is also quite interesting. Unfortunately, it is hard to make out some of the fine details in these spacecraft equipment focus pieces due to the somewhat poor quality B&W TV pictures.
Don't let that stop you from getting this DVD. Avid space buffs, and of course those keenly interested in the history of Apollo, will find this set well worth the 35 USD retail price and the time to view all 4-1/2 hours of programs. I found it quite educational - however, school age children will probably become quickly bored with this type of material, which is rather technical, and presented all too matter of factly. Even for adults interested in this subject matter, watching these DVDs late at night, may likely induce sleep.
I'm still glad I purchased "Mission to the Moon" on DVD; it is full of lesser known aspects of Project Apollo, and features some of the most brilliant contributors, along with many hundreds of thousands of factory workers who helped to achieve the goal set by President Kennedy to land men on the Moon and return them safely to Earth before the end of the 60s. Many of the innovations and modern technological advances of the Apollo R&D effort are still of benefit to us today. (Watch the chapter on Pratt and Whitney's fuel cell R&D for Apollo to gain an understanding of what may yet become a very important contribution to planet Earth and our precious resources forward in the 21st century, to see what I mean).
This DVD is complementary to the many fine (mission specific) Spacecraft Films' DVDs on Project Mercury, Gemini, Saturn and Apollo, as well as numerous books on the latter. "Mission to the Moon" augments much of the often glossed over people, places and activities of NASA contractors, and their sterling achievements in order for America to prevail in the late, great Space Race of the 1960s."