Moon Machines Discovery

Moon Machines Discovery

Moon Machines (First Broadcast 2008 Dox Productions for Discovery Science 6 x 50 minutes – I cut three of them)

Dox Productions were keen to capitalize on their success with Shadow, and Discovery quickly commissioned this six-part series from them about the engineers behind the Apollo space program.  Eventually, over 70 engineers were interviewed, including Konrad XXX, the last of Von Braun’s German V2 rocket men, and Robert xxx, NASA administrator to JFK. Using his by now comprehensive knowledge of the NASA film library, Chris Riley tracked down extraordinary footage of the testing and development of the hardware and, in many cases, the engineers themselves.  One can of film, found underneath a desk, turned out to be unscreened colour footage of Von Braun testing V2s at White Sands just after the war.  The music score was by Philip Sheppard.  Available on DVD

Prog 1. The Rocket
Directed & Produced by: Duncan Copp / Executive Producer: David Sington

The story of how the Saturn V, the largest vehicle ever to fly was developed.  Weighing in at 6.5 million tons, most of which was fuel, the Saturn V stood 362 feet tall and was designed to get three men and their equipment to the moon and back again.

Prog 2. Command Module
Director: Chris Riley / Producer: Duncan Copp / Executive Producer: David Sington

“A miniature house” was how one of the engineers described this miracle of engineering.  Containing everything the crew needed to keep them alive for nine days in Space, the CSM took 40,000 men six years to build.   It had to be tested to destruction, with every component designed from the ground up.

Winner: Grand Remi Award

Prog 6. The Rover
Director: Chris Riley / Producer: Duncan Copp / Executive Producer: David Sington

Of all the items designed for the Moon’s exploration, the Lunar Roving Vehicle was the one that really caught the public’s imagination.  Part of Von Braun’s original dream, the project was cancelled a number of times before finally being given the go ahead.  Sam xxx at General Motors finally won the contract against stiff competition from Grumman, the manufacturers of the Lunar Module.  The winning factor in the GM bid was its compact size.  They designed a vehicle that folded in half.