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Series: Space Race

 

Race For Rockets

   2005    Technology
Space Race is a docu-drama chronicling the major events and characters in the American/Soviet space race. It focusses on Sergei Korolev, the Soviets' chief rocket designer, and Wernher von Braun, his American counterpart. The series was a joint effort between British, German, American and Russian production teams." In the first episode, 1944-1949, we see Wernher von Braun's work on the V-2 for the Nazis during the last years of the Second World War, his surrender to American troops and his move to the USA. We see Sergei Korolev's release from the Gulag, and how he is set to work on Soviet rockets, first attempting to copy the V-2, then building a more efficient rocket of his own.

Race For Satellites

   2005    Technology
During 1953-1958, as the Cold War intensifies, Korolev is asked to build a rocket capable of carrying a five-ton warhead to America - he designs and constructs the R-7 Semyorka, and is later allowed to use it to launch the first satellite, Sputnik 1. Meanwhile, von Braun struggles to persuade the US government to allow him to launch his own satellite - after Sputnik's launch and the failure of the US Navy to launch a Vanguard satellite, he is finally allowed to launch the first American satellite, Explorer 1.

Race For Survival

   2005    Technology
During 1959-1961 both the Americans and Soviets are planning manned space flight, and we see both sides preparing to do so with the development of the Vostok programme (Russia) and Project Mercury (USA). After difficulties and failures on both sides, the Soviets succeed in putting Yuri Gagarin into space first, with the Americans putting Alan Shepard up shortly afterwards.

Race To The Moon

   2005    Technology
During 1964-1969 both sides now plan to put a man on the Moon - while the Soviets struggle, the Americans pull ahead in the space race with Project Gemini, but then suffer a disaster with the Apollo 1 fire. The Soviet space programme suffers its own blows: Sergei Korolev dies when his heart fails during an operation, Soyuz 1 crashes and kills cosmonaut Vladimir Komarov, and their planned moon rocket, the N-1 rocket, fails to successfully launch. In America, von Braun has difficulties with the Saturn V, but they are overcome, and the rocket successfully launches the first manned lunar mission, Apollo 8, and the first manned lunar landing, Apollo 11.

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