Satellite in the Sky (1956) - full transcript

A crew of astronauts, including a scientist and a reporter, launch from England into outer space on a rocket which can serve as a satellite. Their mission is to test a new tritonium bomb, but after the bomb fails to repel itself from the ship, the crew has only a matter of hours to defuse or destroy the weapon before it explodes.

- Hello, sir.
- Hello, Bob.

It seems okay, Lefty.

It ought to be.
It's the 23rd test with the new fuel.

No overheating?

- Not anymore. That's all, Bob.
- All finished.

- Any misfiring?
- None at all.

Would you say it was perfect now?

I'd never say anything was perfect.
Anyway, we'll know this afternoon.

- Sounds like Mike's plane.
- Yeah.

- Let's go and tell him.
- All right.

George, tell Larry Noble to
pick me up at the locker room.



Okay.

Will you all please be seated,
ladies and gentlemen?

- Good morning, sir.
- Good morning.

- Everything's ready now.
- Wonderful.

We'll answer your questions, providing
they don't violate security regulations.

I hope that doesn't mean
you'll sit in deep official silence.

Not at all. Operation Stardust
is a purely scientific venture.

Mr. Blandford, we have heard a lot
of rumors about Operation Stardust.

What is the main object of this flight?

We hope to show that man
can break away from the Earth's pull.

Get outside the force of gravity.

Oh, then the spaceship will actually...

No, no, the Stardust
is not really a spaceship.

We're not at that stage yet.



But you believe the Stardust
can get outside the field of gravity?

Yes, she should reach a height
of over 1000 miles...

and a speed of about
5 miles per second.

- For how long?
- Theoretically, forever.

Once the Stardust has passed
the upper stratosphere...

there will be no frictional
resistance or gravity to stop it.

Oh, here is Commander Hayden,
the chief test pilot.

- Good morning.
- Good morning.

Gentlemen, this is Larry Noble,
my chief officer and navigator.

- Morning.
- How do you do?

Take over, commander.

Captain Ross will watch the questions,
which are under security.

Commander Hayden, can you tell us
exactly what you intend to do today?

At 1500 hours this afternoon...

I'm going to take a jet fighter
up 80,000 feet.

Once up there, I'm going to give
the plane all I know.

Is this the test
we've been invited to see?

That's right.

The biggest obstacle in these tests
has been fuel.

Fuel to boost rocket turbines
to the tremendous power output required.

We've already lost two planes
and two good men.

You think you've got it?

We hope the lives of two men
have not been wasted.

What we've learned
gives Hayden a better chance...

for the plane he takes up.

If it stands up to the tests
he will give it...

- then...
- Then?

Operation Stardust
will proceed as scheduled.

What is the schedule?

If the test is a failure,
we start all over again.

But if it succeeds,
the Stardust will take off tomorrow.

- Tomorrow?
- Yes.

Everyone is standing by
and the weather is perfect.

We've prepared releases for you.

- Larry, help me.
- Yes, sir.

They contain all the technical details
for your story.

Can we use these?

Yes, of course,
we put them there for you.

Thank you.

Commander, just what do you
hope to accomplish?

This is the first step, the first attempt
to get beyond the stratosphere.

Away from the Earth's force.

- And then what?
- Come again.

Supposing you get beyond the stratosphere,
what will man have gained?

Well, we'll know a little more.

Be less ignorant about the universe
and our place in it.

Don't you think first we ought to find out
what's wrong with our own world?

Why give the whole universe
the benefit of our ignorance?

Commander Hayden?

This spacecraft, Stardust,
what potential does it have in time of war?

I'm afraid, gentlemen,
that question is out of order.

Commander, how will the human body
react to the acceleration...

needed to reach the speed
of 5 miles per second?

Eighteen thousand miles per hour.

It sounds like a lot, but the acceleration
should be fairly gradual.

If you want figures, it should be about
128 feet per second per second.

What's that in simple language,
commander?

In simple language,
that's 6 miles up in 24 seconds.

Ladies and gentlemen, if you'd
like to see the rest of the building...

You've got it all down pat anyhow.

I have a feeling
you don't approve of this project.

Is that so strange when the whole thing is
completely unnecessary? In fact, suicidal.

You said you'd already lost two men.

They were aware of the danger
and thought it worthwhile.

What if the Stardust blows up,
as she probably will?

Then we'll know... The designers will know
that the fuel or the design was imperfect.

Some people find it impossible
to be quite so impersonal, commander.

If I may be personal,
I'm glad I'm not your wife.

And if I may be personal, so am I.

Control testing. Control testing.

One, two, three...

four, five, six...

Here's your microphone.
The lead's long enough.

You'll get an excellent view from here.

- Have we got contact with the hangar?
- Yes, sir.

- When's it start?
- Takeoff in two minutes.

Blandford to Skytest.
Are you receiving me? Over.

And, please, no more photographs.

Skytest to Blandford,
receiving loud and clear.

- Can we mention the name of this place?
- Yes.

Thank you. Switching off.

- Who is that girl?
- Kim Hamilton.

Special correspondent
of the World Press Service.

I should've said something to Hayden.

- She represents the opposition.
- Opposition?

Public opinion is divided. Most people
think it's a great experiment.

But there is the other point of view
that Hayden is committing suicide.

The suicide idea would be enough
to stir up plenty of opposition.

- It's nonsense.
- Is it? Simms?

- You think...?
- It's not a question of what I think.

- You and I know the more important story.
- The bomb.

Even without knowing about that, you
can't blame people for feeling opposition.

Dr. Blandford,
message from Control, sir.

- Thank you. Ladies and gentlemen.
- May we have your attention, please?

Hayden will be taking off in 30 seconds.

I've had radio equipment installed...

so you can hear Hayden's
firsthand impressions...

while he's in the air.

Skytest to Control. Skytest to Control.

- Skytest to Control. Over.
- You're on. Over.

Hello, Mike. This is Blandford.
How is it? Over.

Everything's fine. Responding well.

I'm now cruising at 9000 feet.

Airfield looming up.

Airfield gone. Over.

You're on your own, Mike.
Commence test when ready. Over.

Pulling her up to vertical climb. Over.

He's taking her up to 80,000 feet.

- And then what?
- He'll bring her down again.

- In one piece?
- Skytest to Blandford. Over.

- Sorry.
- Go ahead, Mike. Over.

I'm leveling out.

Coming down at maximum
velocity now. Over.

Pull her out, Mike, pull her out!

- He's left it too late.
- He's overshot.

Blandford to Skytest.

Blandford to Skytest.

Mike, for heaven's sake, answer.

That was the sound barrier.

And right now I'm about 80 miles away,
so you wouldn't hear me.

I'm riding along the rim of the coast.
Everything responding. Everything okay.

Quite a joy ride. Over.

How about fuel pressure? Over.

Everything normal.
Now returning to airfield. Over.

Well, ladies and gentlemen, we have
what we wanted, a successful test.

- He's finished? It's over?
- Not quite, Miss Hamilton. Not quite.

- We have to go through that again?
- Receiving loud and clear, Miss Hamilton.

It's nice to have you worry about me. Just
a few routine aerobatics before I come in.

Very pretty to watch.

And who knows, I might even
provide you with a suicide. Over.

Nice work, Mike.

Thank you, Simms.

Ladies and gentlemen,
Operation Stardust will go ahead tomorrow.

I still bet we don't take off tomorrow.

There's nothing to stop us, is there?

I'm getting to a state
I don't believe anything anymore.

Well, everything's set.

- What time?
- Start warming up at 0915 hours.

- Take off 1000 hours.
- All right, I lose my bet.

I suggest you both take it easy.

Try and get some sleep. You'll need it.

Dinner at home for me.
Anything else, Mike?

No. Don't keep that dinner waiting.

Barbara's gonna be thrilled
it's happening.

- Good night, sir.
- Good night, Larry.

There's a great deal to be done.
Where will you be if I want to speak?

I'll be around. I could do with a drink.

I wonder if the
press left any free stuff.

Why not go and find out?

By the way, you might let Ross know
exactly where you are.

Yes, of course.

Okay, I'm finished.

Al right.

Will you have those
photographs ready for tonight?

Yeah, as soon as I
get back to the office.

Good.

Oh, Bill.

Put this on the editor's desk for me.

You'll be in later?

You really do believe in all this,
don't you, commander?

You don't spend five years of your life
on this if it means nothing to you.

Someday men are going to
explore the universe.

- And when they do finally...
- But that's just it. Do what?

What are you gonna find
that's worth so much?

Perhaps a new world.
The better world they're talking about.

Anyway, it's important to find out.

I know that some people
can't understand.

- You don't see it either, do you?
- Well, I can't say I agree with you.

- All the same, will you do me a favor?
- I don't know. It depends what it is.

Let me see the Stardust.

Why?

So you can write a sarcastic story
about something you don't understand.

"I saw the Stardust last night...

the plane that's being launched
into nowhere for no reason.

And what is it? Just a mass of metal.

Plain, ordinary metal."

- That's what you want to write.
- It has nothing to do with what I write.

I have a very special reason
for wanting to see it.

If you use this to ridicule the project,
I promise to come back...

just to pay you back.

I only wanna look at it. Can we go, then?

All right. Let's use this door.

Jimmy, have you checked your equipment?

Yeah, everything's checked and stored.

Oh, this is Jimmy Wheeler.

He's our telescreen operator
and photographer.

- Miss Hamilton.
- How do you do?

- Quite a tie you got, Jimmy.
- Yeah.

Pretty smart, eh? There's nothing like
a new tie to give a guy courage.

- Especially when he's got a problem.
- Problem? Like which girl to take out?

I'm a one-girl man now.
I'm shooting the works.

- Oh, it's that serious?
- It sure is.

- Say, Lefty?
- Yep.

- Can you keep a secret?
- Oh, I think so.

Look, if you were a girl, a really
beautiful girl, would you marry me?

If this is a proposal, Jimmy,
save it for the girl.

- Best of luck anyway.
- Thanks. I'll need it.

- I don't think I'm...
- You're not worthy of her.

If I didn't know you better,
I'd say you were kidding me.

Look, Lefty. Why don't you
come up to London with me?

Maybe Ellen's got a girlfriend.
We can have a ball.

You know, if this crew's ever
gonna have a night out, this is it.

I don't think so.

No, I didn't think so either.
I don't see you celebrating anything.

No offense. Be seeing you.

- Good evening, Thomas.
- Good evening, sir.

- Good evening.
- Good evening, miss.

Tell me, Mr. Thomas,
do you wanna go up tomorrow?

Me, miss? No. I'm comfortable
down here on the ground.

Practically retired. At least Thomas
has his age as an excuse.

I remember when a bike
was the fastest thing.

See what I mean? Come on. Let's go.

Let me, sir.

I've never seen anything
so overpowering, so beautiful.

It's beautiful, all right. Even down here.

Yes, it's beautiful but evil.

Why evil? Oh, I admit that power
can be used for evil purposes...

but there's nothing evil in this.

We're just doing something
that's never been done before.

You mean because
it's never needed to be done.

Is there any point in trying something
just because it's never been done?

Your trouble is that you want to stand
still, and the world can't and doesn't.

I'd like to go now.

- Good night.
- Good night.

- Good night, Thomas.
- Good night, sir.

It's a wonder you don't have
more guards.

There are plenty of guards,
but they watch the outer areas.

What do these guards do?

There are no gunfights,
if that's what you mean...

but they stop a few
souvenir-hunters and fanatics...

who want to blow up the Stardust.
Like you, for example.

- Do you hate me for feeling like this?
- I don't hate you at all.

There'll always be people against progress
and you have every right to be one of them.

- I'll turn the jeep around.
- And you're a stubborn idealist.

It's what you're doing I dislike, not you.

Is there any difference between
what a man does and what he is?

I knew two other men like you.

They're both dead
because of what you call progress.

Barbara?

Barbara? Oh, hello, dear.

I got away as quickly as I could.
I was afraid something might come up.

And having nothing better to do,
you came home.

Barbara, you know
tomorrow's the big day.

- Another big day?
- Do try and understand, dear.

I thought we paid this bill.

All I can understand is that
I've had five years of waiting...

for one big day or another,
after which everything will be wonderful.

- But this one really is...
- I know, this one is going to be different.

- Well, don't let's quarrel.
- You won't have a chance.

I'm going to Myra's party.

- Will it be all right if I come along too?
- You can if you want to.

- I'd hoped that we could be alone tonight.
- You did?

You suddenly remembered
you had a wife.

Don't let's bicker all the time.

- I'm sorry I've been a bit busy lately.
- "A bit busy"?

Well, that's a laugh.

Even when you're with me,
you're not really with me at all.

You're thinking about some problem
on that rocket of yours.

You knew my job when you married me.

You knew it then, the sort of life
we'd lead together.

I didn't really expect anything like this.

And besides, you've changed.

You don't really need me anymore.

Oh, Barbara, I do need you.
Anyway, this job's nearly finished.

I promise after tomorrow
we can have all the time we want.

And you're sure that after tomorrow
there won't be bigger and better rockets?

Barbara.

That wasn't fair.

I thought it was pretty good.

- Must be about time for our relief.
- Yes.

- Larry, will you promise me one thing?
- Certainly.

Tonight let's forget about
everything except us.

That'll be easy. I promise.

Mr. and Mrs. Noble are out.

- Well, perhaps...
- Oh, Larry, please don't answer it.

Larry.

Hello?

Oh, yes, sir.

Tonight? No, I can't.
Won't it keep till the morning?

Oh, I see.

Yes, I'll be right over.

- That was the chief.
- I heard.

Well, it's important.

Of course.
The rocket is always important.

They wouldn't call me
if they didn't need me.

And they can have you.

But this time, I'm not waiting
for the rocket to let you come back.

- Oh., hello, Michael. Come in.
- Hello.

Did they find Miss Hamilton?

No, sir. I imagine she left
without handing in her pass.

- I don't know how.
- I wouldn't worry about it, sir.

Blandford, let's get down
to the task in hand.

We should wait until Mr. Noble
gets here. He's on his way now.

I thought the crew
would have been sleeping here.

If I had my way, the whole project
would have been handled as a top-secret.

That would have drawn more attention
to it. We wanted to avoid that.

May I introduce Commander Hayden,
the chief pilot?

- How do you do?
- Professor Merrity, War Office.

Glad to meet you, professor.
All this sounds very mysterious, sir.

- Come in.
- I didn't know that the War Office...

- were interested.
- Professor, this is Mr. Noble.

Good evening.
Hello, Mike, it's a bit late.

- Sorry.
- Let's get to the point, shall we?

All this is in absolute confidence.

Blandford, will you tell them?

Michael, we all know the scientific object
of your flight tomorrow...

and the observations
you're going to take...

but there is another project
even more important.

When you take off,
you'll be carrying a bomb.

- A bomb?
- Not an ordinary one.

The first Tritonium bomb
to be made, T-1.

It was perfected at the atomic
research station in New Mexico.

Look, wait a minute.

I thought we were on
a purely scientific mission.

Michael, it took many millions
to finance and build Stardust.

That money would never have been
made available for research alone.

Blandford, let's stop
beating about the bush.

Your ship was built to take T-1
up beyond the stratosphere.

Why can't the new jet bombers
take it up? What's the point?

T-1 is a new type of atomic weapon...

far more powerful
than the hydrogen bomb.

- More powerful than the H-bomb?
- Yes.

That's why it cannot be tested on Earth.

Up there beyond the atmosphere,
the explosion will exhaust itself in space.

On Earth it would cause destruction
beyond anything that you can imagine.

That's why it cannot be exploded
on Earth.

Let's hope it's the only Tritonium bomb
ever to be exploded.

The test will be recorded and
its effects observed all over the globe.

When the destructive power of T-1
is made evident in this way...

it should be a convincing demonstration
of the futility of any future war.

If I say that the bomb
should never have been made...

I'd only be trying
to turn back the clock.

The bomb exists now.

- How do I explode it?
- I shall do that.

It'll be released automatically
up there...

to explode at 2100 hours tomorrow.

What happens to the bomb
if Stardust crashes on takeoff?

The bomb has a specially designed fuse.
It can't explode until the fuse is set.

Merrity will set the fuse
when you reach the required altitude.

Until then, the bomb is harmless.

The reporters are going to be here
tomorrow.

How do we explain Professor Merrity?

Officially, he will be described
as a meteorological expert.

- You carry on, Ross.
- Right, sir.

- Good night, gentlemen.
- Good night.

I'm afraid I must ask you
and Mr. Noble to stay here tonight.

- The War Office insists.
- But I promised my wife...

- I'm sorry.
- It won't take me more than a few minutes.

I'll phone her
and tell her I won't be home.

Of course. I hope you don't mind,
but I must ask you...

to telephone her in my presence.

Al right.

It's a shock to find that what we thought
was the purpose of this project...

is just a blind for something else.

Have the rest of my crew been told?

No, and they won't be.

We in this room
are the only people who know.

Is that fair? You're making
Jimmy and Lefty take part...

in something they know nothing about.
No chance to back out.

Yes, Birchley, 2592.

- Why should they back out?
- I'm not saying they will.

- They should know what they're doing.
- Sorry. It's impossible.

- Anyway, they both still have the same job.
- Still I...

Are you sure you're ringing
the right number?

- Darling, can you lend me some stockings?
- Yes, in just a moment.

Okay, I'll get it.

- Hi, Pat.
- Hello, Jimmy.

- Who is it?
- It's me, honey.

You set for soft lights and sweet music?

Well, I was.
Jimmy, I'm terribly sorry, but I'm...

What do you mean?
Don't we have a date?

You're not the sort of girl to run out.

- No, but Pat and I...
- It's the fashion show at the Grand Hotel.

- You said you'd got out of that.
- I thought I had.

- Stockings.
- Oh, yes.

My boss just called.

One of the girls is ill.

You can call your boss back
and tell her you have an important date.

No, I can't.

Supposing you'd been told to stay at
Thunder Hill tonight. You'd have stayed.

I've got a job too.
I've got to do what I'm told.

- Great, tonight of all nights.
- It's how things happen.

- They're coming for me. I must be ready.
- Sure, I get chucked out, just like that.

There'll be other nights.

Not for me, honey.

- Jimmy?
- I'm sorry, honey.

He was going to take me
to the south of France, but we didn't go.

You mean he neglects you?

- Perhaps he doesn't mean to, but...
- He does, doesn't he?

His work always seems to be
much more important to him than I am.

Well, it's hard to understand
when a man has a wife as lovely as you.

Excuse me a moment.

- Got a light, Jerry?
- Sure.

- How's Larry?
- He's fine. Thank you.

Barbara, let's put these away.
And then, if you feel like it...

let's go somewhere and dance.

Well, yes, I'd love to.

Same again, Jack.

You can't drown it, you know.

-No?

- Make it a double.
- A woman?

Yeah. Yeah, she stood me up.

For another man?

No, a fashion show.
I ask you, a fashion show.

- She's just like all the others, I suppose.
- What do you mean, "like all the others"?

- Listening to you talking, I thought...
- Well, don't.

Maybe you're giving up too easily.

- How much do I owe you, Jack?
- That's the one.

I shouldn't have thought a fashion show
would give you any competition.

- Do you have a telephone here?
- Yes, over there.

- Well, give me some change, will you?
- Here you are.

Tell Mr. Miller we'll be up
in a few seconds.

Ellen? Oh, Ellen, someone wants to talk
to you on the telephone.

He was very insistent.

You can take it outside.
Hurry up, you're on in a few seconds.

Thank you.

- Hello?
- Hello, Ellen?

Oh, Jimmy, I'm so happy.

I mean, I'm so sorry.

The show will be going on
for hours and hours.

Yeah, listen, Ellen. I brought you
a present but I forgot to give it to you.

- Oh?
- In fact, it's a ring.

A ring?

Can't you see it? It's a very pretty ring.

Imagine you're standing with me.
I'm taking your hand and saying:

- "Ellen, will you marry me?"
- Darling.

- Well, I can't go on till you say "yes."
- I'm saying "yes" right now.

- You... You are? You mean you really are?
- Yes.

Well, that... That's wonderful.

Look, I'm putting it on your finger.
See it?

Of course I can see it, Jimmy.

It's beautiful.

- It's the loveliest ring in the world.
- Ellen, please.

Bye, Jimmy.

Well, you're home.

I'm glad you took me out tonight.

This is the first time
I've really enjoyed myself for ages.

I've enjoyed it too.

Barbara, can I call you tomorrow?

All right, Tony.

Good night.

- And thanks again.
- Good night.

There it is, George.

Everything the well-dressed man needs
for a stroll above the stratosphere.

- Including its own jet propulsion.
- Pretty smart.

Well, pal, I hope
they never have to use you.

All right, stand clear, you guys.
I'm gonna bring her up.

Careful now, guys, how you stow this.

- Be sure you check all the shackles.
- Okay.

- Get off the ship as soon as you're finished.
- Yes, sir.

It's heavy.
I wonder what it's supposed to do.

Put the photisms in the gammas
and the flow, I think.

Size tech the photisms in the gammas
and the flow with fine goggles.

Very funny.

Well, Michael, it's two minutes past 9.

After completing your scheduled flight...

you will release the T-1 at the position
and height marked on this chart.

Pilot rockets are attached
to the bomb to propel it...

beyond the magnetic field of the ship.
The bomb's orbit has been worked out...

so instruments all over the world will be
trained on the exact spot of the explosion.

- Anything else?
- I think that covers it, sir.

Let's go. I want to see
that the T-1 is secured.

Don't worry, professor, it will be.
What about your special fuse?

It's due here under armed guard
at 9:15.

- Goodbye, Blandford.
- Goodbye, professor.

Well, Michael, good luck.

We'll try to see that everything
goes according to plan, sir.

- Bye.
- Goodbye, professor.

Heroes face death
with a smile on their lips.

What's the fare, Mac? Cheer up.

- You're all heroes.
- I never felt less like a hero.

The air smells good.
Where we're going. they don't have any.

- What are you beefing about?
- What are you happy about?

I'll let you in. Last night, I got engaged
to the most wonderful girl in the world.

I don't wanna spoil your illusions,
but you'll be surprised...

how soon the most wonderful girl
turns into the old woman.

How about last night?
Did you paint the town red?

I didn't go anywhere last night.
I was here. By order. Hello, Mike.

Larry, better get aboard. It's nearly 9:15.

I must wait for the delivery of this...

It takes 45 minutes for the turbos
to warm up. There's plenty of time.

By the way, this is Professor Merrity.
He's coming as meteorologist.

- How do you do?
- Good morning.

This is Blake. We call him Lefty.
He's our turbo-jet engineer.

This is Jimmy Wheeler.
He looks after our telex apparatus.

I'd better get back to the control tower.

Your box of tricks
will be here any minute.

It's probably been delayed by the crowds.

That looks like it, sir.

A five-eighth, Jim.

Commander, the extra acceleration
couch. We had to move it up.

That's okay. Have you tested
the compression yet?

- We're doing it now, sir.
- Right.

All okay, Lefty?

Stand by.

Main circuit in.

Fire all jets at minimum charge.

Jim, get a hold of this.

Special delivery for Professor Merrity.

That's me. Be careful
of that fuse box. It contains acid.

- I can take it for you, sir.
- No. I'll take it myself.

Okay.

Let's go.

We're all finished now.

Stay clear of the jets as you go.
They're radioactive.

- Good luck.
- Thank you.

Okay.

Do we need these masks?

- No, professor, the cabin is pressurized.
- Thanks.

Stardust to Control. Stardust to Control.
Do you receive me? Over.

Thunder Hill to Stardust.
Receiving you clearly.

Switch on your telex radar.

Switched on.

Okay, Stardust, your telex
is being received.

Don't forget to alter your frequency
at 90,000 feet and again at 32 miles.

I'm the telex operator.
T for Tommy, E, Edward...

L, London, E, Edward, X.

I know my job.
Only thing worrying me, do you?

Thunder Hill to Stardust.
No cracks, please.

A lot of important people
are hearing you.

Say, that's great.

Maybe this is my big chance.
Do I get to sing now?

A takeoff of the first
piloted rocket ship in history.

There must be thousands of people here...

who have come from all over
to see this great event.

At 10:00, in just over nine minutes...

the rocket jets will slowly
increase their power...

until the ship is projected
from its underground hangar.

No more inside.
You'll have to watch from here.

Don't push. The whole thing will be
perfectly clear for miles from here.

You must let me in.
It's terribly important.

I'm sorry, there's too many inside
already. Send that car back.

- But there's somebody I must see.
- Who?

Jimmy Wheeler. He's one of
the crew on the rocket.

- Please let me see him.
- I'm sorry, miss, it's too late.

Thirty seconds to go.

- Twenty seconds, Mike.
- Okay.

Try and relax as we take off.
Just sink into the seat.

- It shouldn't be uncomfortable.
- Fifteen.

Stand by.

Ten, nine, eight, seven...

- six, five, four, three, two...
- Cut in fuel.

There she goes. She's gathering speed
up the launching ramp.

Larry, course okay?

Dead on.

Here we go.

This bomb is gonna be exploded
1000 miles above the Earth?

Yes, at 9 p.m. Greenwich Mean Time
tonight. Her Majesty's government...

and the United States have advised
every country in the world about this.

What is the purpose of this experiment?

Is it a demonstration of force, a threat?

No, gentlemen. It is a scientific
demonstration of destructive power.

After this explosion,
the futility of war...

should be even more apparent
than it is at present.

Get ready to cut six jets, Lefty.

Set, skipper.

I can't stand this much longer.

- Quiet, please, professor.
- But I...

Shut up.

Cut to Jets 1 and 8.

You've no right to talk like that.

- Sorry, I'm in charge. Here.
- You'll discover when we get back...

If you don't stop gabbering when I
work out force and velocity corrections...

- we won't get back.
- Is it all right to move?

Yes, you can do what you like now,
professor.

We lost two points to starboard on takeoff.
We cut the motors a little early.

- Get the figures as soon as you can.
- Okay.

I've established contact
with Thunder Hill. Message?

- Not yet.
- Mike.

Who is this guy Merrity?

I think I'll go
and have a look at the gyros.

Yeah, who is he anyway, Mike?

I'm sorry, I wasn't allowed
to tell you until now.

But the main object of this flight is
to release a new bomb known as T-1.

Purely as a demonstration,
and Merrity is here to do it.

- You mean the bomb's aboard the ship?
- That's right.

- I'm glad I didn't know that.
- The bomb is harmless until the fuse is set...

otherwise they'd never
let those crowds watch.

They might have told us...

If you'd been told, you'd have
had to stay at Thunder Hill last night.

Ah, well, in that case... Eh, Lefty?

Well, where is she?
She said she'd be here.

- Like I told you, she didn't show.
- Now we got no story on the takeoff.

- We got the pictures...
- Get Mac.

- Where are you going with those?
- Sorry.

And so we carry on according to plan
with this one additional job.

- Commander Hayden.
- What's the matter?

Are you aware we have
another passenger on board?

Larry, take over.

This is more like a bus service
than a spaceship.

Yeah, you can say that again.

I might have known it'd be you.
You're lucky to be alive.

You know this woman?

This is Kim Hamilton.
She doesn't approve of what we're doing...

but opinions don't matter
when it's a question of getting a story.

This is an outrage.
I'm surprised you take it calmly.

No point in doing anything else.

I can't drop her outside,
much as I'd like to.

- You take it very sensibly.
- Sensibly?

I'd like to point out
that this crazy adventure...

- might have killed us all.
- What do you mean?

We might have precise limits
in the weight the ship could lift.

Any additional weight, we might never
have got clear of gravity.

- I didn't think of that.
- Of course not.

You storybook heroines
never think of things like that.

You only think of how clever you're being
and impose on others to save your necks.

- You need any help?
- Get a message away.

- Kim Hamilton aboard.
- Okay.

Make it clear she has no right to be here.

- Tell them she stowed away.
- Sure. I'll see it gets through.

Make sure you cover yourself,
whatever you do.

They should be in their orbit
very soon now.

What's the matter?

I'm just thinking.
You know what we've started?

The first step into space. Now that
we've taken it, we'll have to keep going.

- Would you want to stop?
- Of course not.

Yet as that Hamilton has been saying,
"Here we are, dashing out into space..."

Come in. "... before we've thought about
the problems we might meet."

Dr. Blandford, from the Stardust, sir.

Thank you.

- Good heavens.
- What's the matter?

Read it.

"Stardust to Control.
Maneuvering into free orbit. Stop.

Kim Hamilton stowaway."

How are we gonna explain this to Security?
I better get on to them right away.

I'd better go to the control tower and see
if I can get a message to Hayden.

- Security. But what can you tell him?
- That's right. What can I tell him?

Ross. The chief of security's
gonna chew my ears off over this.

But I can't help admiring that girl.

Yes, put me through, will you?

- How do we stand?
- According to the instruments, we're there.

If you cut the power now,
we'll just float in space forever.

- Would you like to try it?
- We need power to maintain gravity.

- Lefty.
- Yes, skipper?

Set two jets firing at minimum.

I'd rather like to have tried free fall.

Remember to alternate
every five minutes.

Coffee, gentlemen?

You have enough provisions
to last a week.

Weight doesn't seem to be
of vital importance after all.

I said it might have been.

Professor, we're in our orbit now.

I'm on a ship that is,
not that might have been.

You take this matter lightly. What
you've done is little short of criminal.

I don't know under what breach
of regulation you'll be charged.

- Coffee, professor?
- But you will be.

You attractive women
think you've nothing to do...

but wave your hips
and everything's forgiven.

- Commander, coffee?
- Thank you.

I'm glad you think I'm attractive,
but I assure you I wasn't waving my hips.

- Mr. Noble?
- Thank you.

- Lefty?
- Thanks.

You haven't asked me yet
why I came along.

I'm not the least bit interested
in why you came.

Another slap in the face.
I'm getting used to them.

I get the impression
you're not welcome around here.

- Are we still in contact with Thunder Hill?
- No. I think our last message got through.

Well, I certainly hope so.
Then they'll know that I'm on the job.

- Well?
- Sorry, no news.

She didn't even get home.
There's no sign of her at Thunder Hill.

When I let her cover this story...

- I must have been crazy.
- Courier.

Women, they've no nose for news,
no sense of responsibility.

I don't like them. In fact, I hate them.

Oh, brother. I love them.

- Where are they going?
- To release the bomb, I guess.

What bomb?

You don't know much
about that, do you?

It's some new atomic bomb
called the T-1...

and setting it off was
what we really came up here for.

So it wasn't a scientific
project, after all.

It's a scientific project. It's just that
the money was put up for the other thing.

You should have stayed. The newspapers
were given the whole story.

What did you think about it
when they told you about the bomb?

Well, I guess I didn't think much at all.

What about you, Lefty?

Well, I'm an engineer.

But if it's got to be exploded,
this is the place to do it.

The explosion will be felt
over the world in a series of shock waves.

What damage will that cause?

It might cause strong wind,
gales in certain areas.

The density of the air will break up
the tremors before they reach the Earth.

Commander, it's 11:10.

The bomb, once primed,
must be released immediately.

- Start priming it.
- I need assistance.

I can't do it by myself. Noble, help me.

- That's all right.
- Release the shackles...

- and remove the fuse plate.
- Right.

Signal to me you'll cut the jets.
You, Noble, will fire the pilot rockets.

They will propel the bomb away
from the magnetic attraction of the ship.

- How long will it take?
- About two minutes.

I'll leave you to it.

So that's the bomb.

It's a pity so much time, money
and intelligence...

is wasted on making
bigger and better bombs.

- For once I agree with you.
- Well, that's a pleasant surprise.

We're beginning
to understand each other.

Maybe.

Hold it, mate.

Screw the plate on.

We used to think
of the first space travelers...

landing on planets and planting flags.

Now I suppose the first thing they do
is explode an atomic bomb.

Exploding the bomb is not my job.
It's nothing to do with me.

Weren't you consulted?

Blandford was. Larry and I
were only told about it last night.

Government officials give orders
without understanding what they mean.

I don't think that applies. The project
must have been carefully planned.

Supposing the explosion
doesn't dissipate itself in space...

this could be the end of the world.

Then that gives you something
more to worry about.

Is that properly screwed down?

You do know how to
fire the pilot rockets?

I know what I'm doing.

- Release it as soon as the jets are cut.
- Right.

Anyway, what can one do?
I'm told to release a bomb.

If I refuse, someone else
takes the Stardust up, that's all.

I wish there'd never been a Stardust.

There had to be one.
If not now, in 10 years or 20.

It was only a matter of time. All set?

- Yes, all ready.
- Lefty.

Wait. Are you quite sure
this bomb has to be exploded?

- It's too late now.
- It isn't. In a few seconds it will be.

Don't get hysterical, now of all times.

We know our business,
you quite definitely do not.

- Control yourself, please.
- Stand by to shut off the jets.

Are you prepared to take responsibility
for anything that might happen?

How can I take responsibility for
everything that might happen? Commander.

As a scientist,
how can you go on with it?

Okay, Lefty. Shut off the jets.

Excellent.

Eleven twenty-one exactly.

I'm glad that's over.
It was a nerve-racking job.

Understand that things
are not done without due consideration.

- I should hope not.
- Everything is taken into account.

Every phase
is timed and checked in advance.

I wasn't worried about the timing.

What was worrying you?
The effect of the explosion?

That's been carefully calculated too.

Five hundred years ago it was carefully
calculated the Earth was flat.

A ship sailing to the edge would go over.

You can't tell. You can't be sure of
what will happen under new conditions.

- You can only guess.
- You lack scientific training.

- It's a waste of time talking to you.
- Professor.

Have a look at this.

The rockets have failed.
You blundering idiot!

They were ignited
when the bomb left the ship.

Something has gone wrong.

If the rockets have failed,
maybe the fuse failed too.

- That bomb can go off.
- Get the ship under way.

- If we're within hundreds of miles...
- Won't the jets detonate the bomb?

- Get clear of it.
- Stand by to blast ahead.

Wait. The ejection-bay doors
are still open.

- Do you wanna wait till the bomb explodes?
- You don't have to be shouting.

Larry. Get back as soon as you can.

Don't wait. I'll hang on down here.
You'll need the extra chair.

- Larry.
- Watch for the signal.

All I want to know,
is it safe to fire the outer jets?

In theory, yes.
Heat shouldn't detonate the T-1.

We must get clear. Fire the outer jets.

Get in your seats.
Miss Hamilton, take that seat there.

Lefty, try 10 seconds full dive,
Jets 1 and 8.

Same jets, minimum charge.

Right.

Cut.

What happened?

Are we clear of it, professor?

It's still there. It never moved.

I'm not surprised.

What do you mean?

I didn't think we would get clear of it.

Skipper, I don't understand.

Maybe you'd like to tell them, professor?

Then I will.

Up here, there is no gravity,
no air resistance, nothing.

We could stay
suspended in space forever...

and that goes for anything
outside the ship too.

Why does the bomb stick
when we accelerate?

With no gravity or air resistance,
the magnetic attraction...

of two metal objects
is enough to keep them together.

When we accelerate,
we drag the bomb with us.

The magnetic attraction
of the ship's too small.

It's a fact. Even Professor Merrity's
colleagues recognized it.

That's why they gave the bomb
its own propulsion.

Now that that's failed,
we can blast as much as we like.

The bomb will still come with us.

Looks as if I had good reason
to be concerned.

The way things turned out, you did.

- Commander, can't you think of something?
- It's not going to be that easy.

Well, don't just stand there
and say it's not going to be easy.

Professor, if there's a way, we'll find it.

Contact Thunder Hill. They may be able
to come up with some suggestion.

- What's the time, Lefty?
- Eleven forty-two.

That means we've still got more than
nine hours. Come with me, Larry.

Hello?

Oh, hello, Tony. I'm so glad you called.

Why, yes, I had a wonderful evening.

- I'd love a drink.
- We interrupt this program...

- for news of the Stardust.
- What did you say?

- A bulletin announces that the bomb...
- Hold on a minute.

Due to be exploded
at 9 p.m. tonight has been released.

The bomb, however, has become
attached to the rear of the rocket ship...

and there appears to be
some difficulty in dislodging it.

Doctor, all we want are a few facts.

Please, I'm not holding anything back.

- I don't know any more than you.
- Can't you give a simple explanation?

- Why does the bomb stick to the ship?
- Above the atmosphere...

the magnetic attraction
of a larger body from a smaller one...

is greater than upon Earth.

But you must have known about this
before the Stardust took off.

The bomb was fitted with its own
propulsion unit to take it clear.

Something has gone wrong
and the bomb cannot be cleared.

- May I quote you on this?
- Yes.

Now, please, gentlemen,
you must excuse us. I'm sorry.

But can't you give us any more on this?

- Airlock's ready, skipper.
- Okay, Lefty.

There's only one thing to be done.

You must get us down.
Once we land, we can get away in time.

We might. What about everyone else
in the area where we land?

The desert. We can land
in the Sahara desert.

Radio them to have a plane ready.

No. You've been too convincing
about the effect of this explosion.

Is there any way to render
the bomb harmless?

Up here? Impossible. It's a waste of time
going out there. We must land.

You seem to have forgotten something.
Once we get close to Earth's atmosphere...

the bomb will be affected by gravity
and drop to the Earth.

I'm going out to see what went wrong.
The helmet.

- He doesn't realize what's gonna happen.
- I think he does. We all do.

We go down, the bomb goes with us. That
means the destruction of millions of people.

You fools. Don't you realize
the bomb's going off at 9:00?

- Yes, we do. You've told us often enough.
- Lefty, go up and cut the jets.

You'll be too close to those stone tubes.
We don't know about the radiation.

- The suit will protect me.
- I hope so.

- What's he doing?
- He's pushing the bomb. It's moving.

Yes, it's moving. It's right behind us.
We can still get away. Start the jets.

- And leave the skipper out there?
- It's no good, look.

He can't do it.

He can't do it.

So far we've had
nothing but talk. Just talk.

The point is that the rocket ship
must not come down with the bomb.

But we mustn't forget
there are human beings up there.

We know that,
but there are only six of them.

If they bring that bomb down,
heaven knows how many will be killed.

It's impossible to calculate where
the bomb will land. It might be anywhere.

Colonel, what's your opinion?

Gentlemen, |I've been connected
with the T-1 project for over three years.

To me it's the most important thing
in the world.

But at this moment, I'm more concerned
about those people up there.

If this bomb
remains attached to the rocket...

- is there no way it can be made harmless?
- It's almost impossible.

The primer operates
by a process of corrosion.

Even if the detonator were removed,
the process would continue...

and would result
in the explosion as planned.

Doesn't Merrity know this? Is there
a chance he may remove the primer?

I can't say. I'd try it myself,
but instead of stopping the process...

it's possible that removing the
detonator might explode the bomb sooner.

It looks as if the bomb
must be exploded above the stratosphere.

Has anybody any ideas?

Professor Bechstein.

I'm an astronomer,
not an expert in explosives.

All I can say is that the relatively
small mass of the bomb...

will keep on being attracted
to the rocket's greater mass...

unless something larger
than the rocket takes its place.

Do you think a meteor could do it?

Possibly. But the chances of a large meteor
passing close enough to achieve that effect...

are no greater than finding a particular
grain of sand at the bottom of the ocean.

The only possibility is some method
of propelling the bomb from the rocket.

But if such a method was available,
there would be no difficulty up there.

No, gentlemen, I can't see any hope.

Professor Blandford, you must radio the
Stardust and order them to stay up there.

That means a death sentence
for the crew.

We have no choice.

That's all, gentlemen.

Well, that's it, professor.

Metal fatigue and your precious
propulsion unit split open like a bad egg.

- Any ideas, Mike?
- I'm afraid not.

What are you looking glum about?
Not everybody gets a chance...

to go out the way we will. Personally,
I'm gonna get a big bang out of it.

- You all agree that we stay up here?
- Yes.

I'm not.
I still say we can land in the desert.

We've been over that before. Pipe down.

- How dare you...
- Commander, we're all with you.

- I'm gonna be sorry that this lady...
- Don't get sentimental about me.

- I have only myself to blame.
- Well, I'm not prepared to die like this.

Start the jets!

Get him back.

- You all right, Mike?
- Start those jets!

- Let's get him in the chair.
- He'll be all right now.

- Of all the crazy things to do.
- He was hysterical.

- He didn't know what he was doing.
- Jimmy, can't I get a message through?

- If I could send a story I'd feel better.
- No, the atmospherics are terrible.

They lost contact for the time being.

Too bad. I wonder what they're thinking
about us down there.

Dr. Blandford.

- Any news from them, sir?
- Radio report, no contact.

- Will you inform General Barnett?
- Yes, sir.

I'm trying to get through
to the president's aide.

- Is there much chance even if...?
- Hello? Top priority.

Cross circuit 3, please.

Hello, Captain Carter?
Colonel Galloway here.

You've got to get
the president's authorization...

for YX-140 to take off. It's the
last chance for these people up there.

At least there's a possibility that she'll
reach the rocket ship and get off the crew.

Yeah. Yes, I'll leave everything to you.

Remember, there's only four hours left.
Right.

What is YX-140?

Our newest jet. Top-secret.

This latest model hasn't even been flown
yet, but now's as good a time as any.

- But what's its range?
- Sergeant Kelly, please.

- Any hope of it getting up there?
- I don't know. Nobody knows.

Kelly, get my car around here right away.

It's the fastest thing we've ever had.

Well, it's nearly 5:00.
We haven't much time.

- What possessed you to stow away?
- Oh.

What do you mean, "oh"?

I tried to tell you a while ago,
but you said you weren't interested.

I'm interested now.

Why did I stow away?

Because in spite of what I said, I couldn't
see this happen and not be in on it.

What about the evil of science
and the senseless waste of life?

- What's changed your mind?
- I haven't changed my mind.

My brother died testing a jet
that was not a success.

He believed in it.
He talked just as you do.

I'm sorry, but I admire
your brother's attitude more than yours.

- My father had the same attitude.
- Your father?

He knew that space flight was possible as
soon as they found the right kind of fuel.

He spent his life searching for it.
Not that he got anywhere.

He was blown up in his own experiment.

- James Sheldon Hamilton.
- How did you know?

The fuel we're using
is a development of his work.

If it hadn't been for his experiments,
we couldn't have got up here.

It still seems to me that stowing away
would be the last thing you'd do.

It wasn't planned exactly.

What about that story you wrote?
"Is it necessary? Is it worthwhile?"

Then you hide on the ship
and come along and see.

It doesn't make sense, does it?

I expect it does,
really. It's in your blood.

Your brother would understand it,
so would your father.

You're not in such bad company
after all, are you?

No, I'm not.

- Dr. Blandford. I must see him.
- I'm sorry, you can't without a pass.

Please. I'm Mrs. Noble.
My husband's in the Stardust.

Wait a minute, Mrs. Noble. I'll check.

Memo, General Barnett in the War Office.

- Teleprint?
- Yes.

"Unable to contact Stardust.

Last message received 1930 hours.
Blandford."

Atmospherics are bad. For a few minutes,
we received their telex.

- Try again.
- If it clears...

- You'll keep on trying.
- Captain Ross, Mrs. Noble.

Hello, Mrs. Noble.
I'm afraid we haven't much news.

- Is he all right?
- Mrs. Noble.

We nearly got through to them just now.

What are the chances, Dr. Blandford?

- Very small.
- But why can't they get down?

- What's wrong with the Stardust?
- Nothing at all.

They can't come down
without bringing the bomb.

They could get down, but they won't.

- That is what I mean.
- There is a slight hope.

A plane has gone up.
She might reach the Stardust...

although we don't exactly know.

- Any luck, Jimmy?
- No joy, skipper.

The static's sounding terrible.

Feeling better, professor?

Yes, thank you.

- I'd like to apologize, commander.
- That's all right. Forget it.

Anyone like some coffee? Sandwich?

- Professor?
- Thank you, ma'am.

I don't know about a sandwich,
but I'll help you get the coffee.

You ever been in love, Lefty?

Yes, I have.

- Well, give. Who was it?
- My wife.

- Your wife? I didn't know you were married.
- She's dead.

- Oh. Oh, I'm sorry.
- There's no need to be sorry.

We were very happy together.

I've known you three years,
but I've never seen you having a good time.

- We have different ideas of it.
- You can tell if a guy's having a good time.

Can you?

Would you know
I was enjoying myself now?

- Are you crazy?
- No, I don't think so.

I've always wanted to achieve
something, and I've done it.

To get up here.
What's happened now can't be helped.

Man, that's one way of looking at it.

- What do you make the time, Lefty?
- Just one hour to go, professor.

At least we know
we've only got one hour.

What about the guy who just steps off
in front of a bus, and bingo?

I met the right girl,
got her to agree to marry me...

- and the story stops right there.
- Good place for it to stop, Jimmy.

Why so sour, Larry?
You and Barbara are happy.

Not really, Mike.
Barbara hated my work at Thunder Hill.

We were very happy once,
but that was long ago.

- Coffee?
- Here are the sandwiches.

Lefty, I want to go and have
another look at that bomb.

- Will you come with me?
- Would it do any good?

We can try. It's better than sitting here
waiting for it to go off.

Will you come?

- What kind do you want, cheese or ham?
- I'll take cheese.

Okay. Thanks.

Thunder Hill to Stardust.
Thunder Hill to Stardust. Can you hear me?

Hello, Stardust to Thunder Hill.
I am receiving you on Beam 3. Over.

Larry.

This is Barbara.

Your wife, Larry.

Come back to me, Larry.
Please, you must come back.

Hello? Hello? Can you hear me, Stardust?

I'm still receiving you clearly. Stand by.

Tell Barbara everything's all right.

We will.
I have a message for your telex operator...

James Wheeler.
It says, "I'm still wearing your ring."

And it's signed "Ellen."

Your message received and understood.
Thank you.

Blandford. can you relay a message to the
World Press Service from Miss Hamilton?

- My report will follow.
- Yes, just a minute.

Ready.

- Right.
- This is Kim Hamilton.

Now that I have shared this experience...

I feel that the mission of
the Stardust will be justified...

if the explosion up here shows people
the stupidity of a future war.

No matter what happens to...

They don't hear you.

I've lost them.

Five years of sweat
and disappointments building this ship...

just to have it blown to bits.

I don't mind going myself...

but I hate to think of that bomb
taking the Stardust with it.

Hurry up, before they find
where we've gone.

Tell me something.

If things had turned out differently,
would you have married me?

I think I would have.

Maybe it would've taken a lot
more time to get around to it.

Mike. The airlock light's on.

Lefty? Professor Merrity?

Lefty?

Mike.

You can't. You'll break the vacuum.

I can't see them.
They're behind the stone tubes.

- What do they think they can do?
- They must have felt they had to try.

- They couldn't stand the waiting any longer.
- Yeah, well, the waiting's nearly over.

Mike.

There was a chance the fuse might
have worked, but the acid's eaten through.

If we use our own propulsions,
we can get it away...

but it'll take both of us to do it.

- It's going.
- They've done it. Mike.

It's possible to get away now.

And leave them? Oh, Mike, you can't.
You mustn't.

That's why they went out there.
That's what they want us to do.

- Larry, take the turbos.
- Mike.

Jimmy, get in your seat.

Larry, switch on all jets.

Quick, man.

Something's wrong, Mike.
The jets won't fire.

The airlock door is still down.

Takes a few seconds to get the pressure
back to normal. Keep the switches down.