8 Days: To the Moon and Back (2019) - full transcript

Eight days, three hours, 18 minutes, 35 seconds. That's the total duration of the most important and celebrated space mission ever flown - Apollo 11 - when we first stepped foot on 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.

Liftoff, we have a liftoff.
Liftoff on Apollo 11.

What a moment.

Man on the way to the moon.


That's one small step for Man,
one giant leap for mankind.

Jesus Christ, look at that horizon.

It has a stark beauty all its own.

You're go to continue powered


Programme alarm.

Give us a reading
on the 1202 programme alarm.


The Eagle has landed.

Just for me, clean on tape,
say, "I'm Neil Armstrong,

"spacecraft commander, Apollo 11."

I'm Neil Armstrong,
Commander, Apollo 11.

Would you prefer Buzz or Edwin?

I'm Edwin E Aldrin Jr,
lunar module pilot on the mission

Apollo 11.

Just look right at me and say,
"I'm Michael Collins,

"command module pilot."

I'm Michael Collins,
command module pilot,

Apollo 11.

The accomplishment that you expect
to achieve is often compared

to that of Columbus.

How do you feel about
such comparisons?

Columbus wasn't sure
where he was going,

I very much hope that we won't
terminate at someplace

that we didn't expect to,
some planet that we hadn't

planned to visit.

The crew of Apollo 11 is unique.

Thanks very much, Buzz Aldrin.

I wasn't finished.
Oh, oh, OK, OK.

Let's back up, whoa, whoa, whoa.

Additionally, they are unusual.

Do you want to start over?

No, I don't want to start over -
do you?


And they also have another
minor distinction,

they perhaps have been asked
more questions than almost anybody

in the world.

Why are you going? Why are
we sending men and not machines?

Do you expect to be able to sleep?

Do you feel that the public
is putting too much hope

on this landing?

And it's not an easy chore
for them to perform.

They are not naturally
talkative men.

I don't know about you,
but I'm staggered about going

to the moon, aren't you, fellas?

Do you think Nasa made a mistake not
planning for the capability

of rescuing you, in case...

Your mission has been given
an 80% chance of success.

What four events in the flight,
in order if you can,

do you consider the most dangerous?

..do you think we are to use "if"
a little more instead of saying

"when" you land on the moon...?

There's been speculation
about what the first man on the moon

will say when he gets there.

Will you prepare something
ahead of time?

This is CBS News,
colour coverage of Man On The Moon.

Sponsored by Kellogg's.
Kellogg's puts more in your morning.

Here, from CBS News,
correspondent Walter Cronkite.

Good morning.

The astronauts are on board now.

Next stop for them, the moon.

The three astronauts are now
in their tiny spacecraft on top

of this enormous rocket.

They have about 160 cubic feet
in there,

which is about the size of
the interior of a small automobile.

There is time, if only briefly
in this busy morning,

to think of those three men,
and the burdens and the hopes

that they carry on
behalf of all mankind.

We are go for Apollo 11.


Our status board indicates the third
stage completely pressurised.

All the second stage
tanks now pressurised.

Power transfer is complete.

Apollo 11, the launch team wishes
you good luck and Godspeed.

12, 11, 10, 9,
ignition sequence starts,

6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1.

Liftoff, we have a liftoff.
Liftoff on Apollo 11.

Tower cleared.


What a moment.
I am on the way to the moon.

You get a feeling that people
think of these men as

not just superior men,
but as different creatures.

We really don't have a language
to...to describe this thing.

What are the words you use?

How do you say
"high as the sky" any more,

Or "the sky's the limit"?
And what does it mean?

All right, how are you?
Looking good, flight. GNC?

Looks good, flight.
Looking good, flight. Roger.

Flight, how are you?
We're go, flight.

Mark. Mark.
Mode One Charlie. Go.

Light up. Go.
Guidance. Go.

Houston, thrusters go,
all engines are looking good.

Roger, Tower.

Neil Armstrong confirming both
the engine skirt separation

and the launch escape
tower separation.

Next critical moment will be
when that second stage jettisons.

Apollo 11 go on all sources.

Apollo 11, this is Houston,
predicted cut off at

11 plus 42. Over.



Apollo 11, this is Houston.
You are confirmed go for orbit.


So this first, always dramatic
and dangerous launch phase

has passed,
and Apollo 11 is on the way.

This is the flight from which Man
will first set foot on the moon.

We should almost glibly toss
that line away now,

Man on the moon.

But, by golly, just think it over.

CBS News colour coverage
of the launch day of Apollo 11

will continue in a moment.



When the spacecraft
has been thoroughly checked out

by the crew, the third
stage fires again,

its speed now tearing it free
from the grip of Earth's gravity.

This is Apollo Control,
we expect the translunar injection

burn at two hours 44 minutes.

We confirm ignition,
and the thrust is go.

We are waiting for word
of the separation from the command

module going off on its own.

While coasting outward,
the command service module separates

and docks for access
to the lunar module.

And the empty third stage
is left behind.

Apollo 11, this is Houston.

You're go for separation.

This next major function now
is the command module coasting out

50 feet away.

The command module will
turn around 180 degrees.

The command module will touch
around and come back,

and with the nose end, come
in and dock with the lunar module.

It's a very, very delicate
and controlled task.

With the lunar module
attached to their nose,

they'll be on the way
on their three-day voyage

to the moon, and into
the pages of history.

Apollo 11, Houston, all your
systems look real good to us.

We will keep you posted.

We have seen something
spectacular today.

Something we'll be telling our
grandchildren about.

Something our great-grandchildren
will undoubtably be undertaking

themselves on
an excursion basis.

This is Walter Cronkite at CBS News
at the Kennedy Space Center

in Florida.

11, this is Houston,
if you are interested in the morning

news, I've got a summary here. Over.

Washington UPI - "Vice President
Spiro T Agnew has called for

"putting a man on Mars
by the year 2000,

"but Democratic leaders replied
that priority must go

"to needs on Earth.

"Laredo, Texas, immigration
officials in Nuevo Laredo announce

"that hippies will be refused
tourists cards to enter Mexico

"unless they take a bath
and get haircuts.


"The House of Lords was assured
that a major American submarine

"would not, quote,
'damage or assault', unquote,

"the Loch Ness Monster."

Apollo 11's distance from the Earth
is now 112,386 nautical miles.

Velocity 4,906 feet per second.

Roger, Apollo 11. Thank you much for
the show, appreciate it,

thank you very much, out.

Apollo 11, this is Houston. Over.

Roger, I've got the morning news
here. Over.

"In Corby, England, an Irishman
named John Coyle has won the world's

"porridge eating championship
by consuming 23 bowls

"of instant oatmeal."

Is he pretty good at that?


It almost seems that
Neil Armstrong's life was intended

to work out this way.

Before the moon, there was flying.

Armstrong was, needless to say,
a hot pilot in the Navy.

He survived the only forced landing
in the history

of the space programme.

And when a lunar training vehicle
went out of control,

forcing him to bail out
for the second time in his life,

a friend concluded
he was either the best,

or the luckiest pilot around.

Anyone else paying attention
would've concluded nothing

could stop him from
flying to the moon.

Even more serious than Armstrong
is Buzz Aldrin.

He is, by general agreement,
the most brilliant of

the astronauts, though some
of his colleagues have been known

to comment, they wished
he didn't feel it necessary

to demonstrate his scholarship
so often.

Typically, Aldrin trained for weeks
underwater for his Gemini 12

spacewalk, determined that
it would be the best ever attempted.

It was.

But Aldrin can be as cool
in appraising himself

as he is in his
relations with others.

Mike Collins has done everything
Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin

have done, but somehow
it's not the same.

The son of a general,
the nephew of another,

he graduated from West Point,
but did not like

the military discipline.

He bailed out of a jet
that was on fire,

but can't remember
anything spectacular.

Collins says he loves flying,
but you get the feeling

he could quit tomorrow.

In his only other flight,
Gemini X, a combination

of circumstances forced him to
cut short his spacewalk.

While the others talk flying,
he prefers to discuss books,

wine or roses.

A man who has known all three
astronauts says if he were forced

down on a remote island,
he would want it to be with

Mike Collins, for the quality
of his personality.

Another said
he would prefer Buzz Aldrin,

because, with his intelligence,
he would soon be converting sea

water to freshwater,
and otherwise logically

attacking the problem.

But both agree that they would hope
it would be with Neil Armstrong,

because somehow
he would get them home.

This is Apollo Control.

Dr Hawkins reports,
all indications are that the crew

is sleeping soundly.

The flight director has made
a decision to not put in a call

to the crew and wake them.

Roger 11, reading
you loud and clear now. Over.


I guess it's turned into night up
there early, hasn't it?

Well, there's a lot of us down here
that would be willing to come along.

This is Apollo Control
at 75 hours 26 minutes.

Apollo 11 is 966 miles
from the moon.

Velocity 6,511 feet per second.

We are 23 minutes away
from the LOI burn.

OK, Capcom, we are go for LOI.

I would like to remind you
to enable the BD roll

on the auto RCS switches. Over.

That's affirmative, 11.


It's very quiet here
in the control room.

Apollo 11, Apollo 11,
this is Houston, how do you read?

Roger, hearing you the same now.

Could you repeat your
burn status report?

The spacecraft is looking good
to us on telemetry.

It is possible that the divine spark
in Man will consume him in flames,

that the big brain will prove
our ultimate flaw,

like the dinosaur's big body.

That the metal plaque that Armstrong
and Aldrin expect to place

on the moon will become
Man's epitaph.

But the future has never revealed
itself, it is made it step-by-step,

moment by moment.

The next great moment
is now at hand.

The world waits and the
astronauts sleep.

Apollo 11, Apollo 11.

Good morning from the Black Team.

Apollo 11, Apollo 11.

Good morning from the Black Team.

Apollo 11, Apollo 11.

Good morning from the Black Team.

After having breakfast,
the crew will have a rather busy day

today, including
the first men landing on the moon.

Looks like it's going
to be impossible to get away

from the fact that you guys
are dominating all of

the news back here on Earth.

Among the large headlines
concerning Apollo this morning

is one asking that you watch
for a lovely girl with a big rabbit.

An ancient legend says
a beautiful Chinese girl,

called Chang-o, has been living
there for 4,000 years.

It seems she was banished
to the moon because she stole

the pill of immortality
from her husband.

You might also look
for her companion,

a large Chinese rabbit,

who is easy to spot,
as he is always standing

on his hind feet in the shade
of a cinnamon tree.

Roger, we copy.

You heard that report
from Neil Armstrong,

they are now in the lunar module.

Flight director Gene Kranz
is going around the control centre

now, talking to his flight
controllers, reviewing status,

in preparation for making the
go/no go decision for undocking.

Apollo 11, Houston,
we are go for undocking. Over.

Houston, you're looking good
for separation,

you are go for separation,
Columbia. Over.

Say again the angles, though.

Roger. Pitch 212, yaw plus 37.

In about 25 seconds from now,
the important burn of the descent

propulsion system engine
of the lunar module will begin

slowing it down
for the landing on the moon.

10% TCP.

Rog, 10%.


This is Apollo Control,
we've had loss of signal now.


That's affirmative.



This landing is not
just as simple as it sounds.

They've got to come in over some
rather high features

before they make that set-down on a
fairly flat point on the moon.

The most difficult part
of the mission is the landing.

You have the manoeuvrability
of a helicopter, so you can descend

vertically, look at the area,
and finally, pick out that one spot

that is acceptable.

The hard part, of course,
is to get that close,

and you have to commit to leaving,
after all of this work,

and I think that pressure
is probably the greatest amount

of pressure any crew will ever have.

We are now in the approach phase,
everything looking good.

Roger, copy.

And just 14 miles to go, 4½ minutes
is left in this era.


1201 alarm. Same type,
we're go, flight. OK, we're go.

Roger, we copy you.

35 degrees.

35 degrees. 750. Coming down to 23.

600 feet, down at 19.

Roger, Tranquility,
we copy you on the ground.

You've got a bunch of guys
about to turn blue,

we're breathing again,
thanks a lot.

Oh, boy, Man on the moon.


Wally, say something,
I'm speechless.

I'm just trying to hold on
to my breath.

That is really something.

Roger. Tranquility. Be advised
there's lots of smiling faces

in this room
and all over the world. Over.

Roger. It was a beautiful job,
you guys.

Roger. We read you, Columbia.

He has landed,
Tranquility Base,

Eagle is at Tranquility. Over.

Good show.

Well, this day has given us,
Eric Sevareid,

I guess our biggest story,

nothing compares with this,
I don't think.

I think, Walter, sometimes
it's easier to be an active

participant in world-shaking things
like this than an observer

who can only sit. At least it's
easier on the nerve ends,

the thing that got us all downstairs
in another office watching this,

in those last few minutes
and seconds, was the steadiness

of those voices, of those two men.

And as an old-fashioned humanist,
that seemed, to me, a little

reassuring that in those
last second, the human hand

and eye had to take over from the
computer, if I understood exactly

what was going on
in that lunar module.

Sitting here,
I really was quite speechless,

I don't think that's happened
in my life.

As a matter of fact,
Armstrong's words were as eloquent

as you could ask.

"The Eagle has landed."
The Eagle has landed.

What more could you say?
No more, no more.

What do you think
of Man's landing on the moon?

It was just profound.

Man has stepped off this planet,
and I'm proud to be an American

and an earthling.

What was the reaction
where you were?

What does it mean to you?

This is one moment I want to share
with the American people.

Yugoslavia, in fact,
has adopted the three American

astronauts as its own heroes.

What's your reaction? What are
your thoughts? How about you, sir?

I am very proud to be a member
of generation

of this historical moment.

I think this is a great day
for Americans.

I think maybe Mars might be next.

Who knows?

Buzz Aldrin and his co-pilot,
Neil Armstrong, they've been on

the moon for over two hours now,
and Buzz Aldrin did take something

with him today, most unusual,
he took a part

of the communal bread loaf
from his church along with him

so that, at his evening meal
tonight, Sunday,

he will, in a sense,
share Communion with the people

of his church.

Tranquility, you can go ahead.

Roger, Tranquility Base.

And the least we can do is to accede
to the request from the hero

conquerors of space,
Armstrong and Aldrin,

to pause for a moment,
and contemplate the last few hours,

and give thanks in our own way.

CBS News colour coverage of the epic
journey of Apollo 11 will continue

in a moment.

We will get word
from the spacecraft,

that they intend to depressurise
the cabin, and open the hatch

in about 15 minutes from now.

We are approaching one
of the critical moments,

and Neil Armstrong's father did say
that he hoped that his son

would have something to say
on the surface of the moon.

He said, "I hope he'll say something
that unites the world."

Neil Armstrong's mother said
that, however,

"Maybe he will be so thrilled,
he won't have any words at all."


Buzz, this is Houston, radio check,
and to verify TV circuit breaker in.

Man, we're getting a picture
on the TV.

There's a foot going down.

There he is,
there's a foot coming the steps.

OK, Neil, we can see you coming
down the ladder now.

That's one small step for Man...

..one giant leap for mankind.

Armstrong is on the moon.

38-year-old American,
standing on the surface of the moon.


Neil, this is Houston,
we're copying.

Boy, look at those pictures.

Oh, thank you, television,
for letting us watch this one.

Isn't this something?

Roger, Neil, we are reading you
loud and clear.


I'm going to leave
that one foot up there and...

Ready for the camera?

Why don't you turn around
and let them get a view from there

and see what the field of view
looks like.

Neil, this is Houston,
we would like you to aim

it a little bit more
to the right. Over.


OK, that looks good, Neil.

Now they are collecting now,
the samples.

We've got about another hour
and five minutes of extra vehicular

activity before the hatch is closed.

I think all of us on Earth
probably feel the same way.

There will never be a day like this
again, in any of our histories.


Columbia, this is Houston. Over.

Neil and Buzz, the President
of the United States

would like to say a few
words to you. Over.

All right, go ahead, Mr President.

Hello, Neil and Buzz.

I'm talking to you by telephone from
the Oval Room at the White House.

And this certainly has to be
the most historic telephone call

I've ever made.

And as you talk to us
from the Sea of Tranquility...

..it inspires us to redouble
our efforts to bring peace

and tranquillity to Earth.

And thank you very much,
and I look forward to seeing

you on the Hornet on Thursday.


In the foreground,
Buzz Aldrin is collecting

a core tube sample.

Tranquility Base, this is Houston.

Tranquily Base,
this is Houston. Over.

We want to make sure
we check the breakers.

Just one quickie.

Mike, this is serious, really,
if I can ask.

How would you feel if
you had to come home alone?



We are keeping tuned now
to Mission Control,

and Houston has a go-through
of checking out

the spacecraft systems before men
LEAVE the moon for the first time.

Roger, go ahead.

OK, on surface 57 there
on your verb 21 noun 73,

trunnion leave it at 180.

The shaft, we'd like...


700, 150 up, beautiful.

The upper stage of
the Eagle lifts off,

leaving behind the now-useless
landing stage,

and swings into orbit to dock
with Columbia once again.

1,000 feet high, 80 feet per second
vertical rise.

Oh, boy, hot diggity dog.

They are off and running now.
Yes, sir.

Armstrong and Aldrin.

You're looking good.

They are just short of 24 hours
on the moon's surface,

on the way back now to rendezvous
with Mike Collins orbiting.

This is Apollo Control.

Communications are somewhat
scratchy with Apollo 11.

Columbia and Eagle now reunited
to become Apollo 11,


When the crew and moon samples
are transferred to the command

service module, the lunar
module is discarded.

30 seconds now until loss of signal,
we've had a last status check

from the flight director,
and all around the room,

the word is go.

Apollo 11, Houston,
you are a go for TEI. Over.

Now, at this point,
we are waiting as Mission Control

and as the whole world,
for this word, that behind the moon,

out of touch with the Earth,
the astronauts of Apollo 11

have successfully fired the engine
for the trans-Earth injection.

They are on the edge of their seats,
just as you and I are.

Roger, we've got you coming home.

They are on the way home.



We're always going to feel
somehow strangers to these men.

They've peered into another life
we can't follow.


He said it was "pretty",
the scene he saw on the moon.

Somehow they found a strange beauty
there that I suppose they can never

really describe to us.



Apollo 11, lined up right down
the middle of the entry corridor.

As it approaches the re-entry speed
of nearly 25,000 mph,

the service module drops away.

The command module, Columbia,
is all that remains of the original

3,000 tonnes of rocket,
fuel, and cargo.

The command module now plunges
into the atmosphere,

protected by its heat shield.

Apollo 11, Houston,
you are still looking mighty fine

here, you are cleared for landing.

Roger. Copy.

Velocity 34,630 feet per second.

Range to go to splash,
1533 nautical miles.

Apollo 11, Houston through ARIA 4.

Hornet reports a sonic boom
a short time ago.

Apollo 11, Houston, in the blind,
Air-Boss has a visual contact.

Apollo 11, Houston, through ARIA,
standing by. Over.

Maximum G-force should
be just about now.

We are seeing this glowing re-entry,
like a comet coming back

to the Earth's atmosphere.

We are getting nothing
from Mission Control,

or from the spaceship.

Come on, Houston, give us the word.

Hot dog, Apollo 11 has made it.

They're back from the moon.

Astronauts Armstrong,
Aldrin, and Collins

landing in the Pacific Ocean,
southwest of Hawaii.


Houston, Tranquility. Over.

Neil is now unveiling the plaque.

Here, men from the planet Earth,
first set foot upon the moon.

We came in peace for all mankind.

July 1969, AD.

To find out more about Apollo 11,
and examine moon rocks collected

by the astronauts using a virtual
microscope, go to...

..and follow the links
to the Open University.