The first manned flight to the moon represented one of the bravest and most progressive actions ever undertaken in America's history. It was also fraught with breathless doubts, endless worry and the potential for tremendous calamity played out on an international stage. The inspiring documentary Earthrise: The First Lunar Voyage traces each step of this perilous history-making journey, and captures the spirit of a time when a nation and a world were united, and even the impossible was within reach.
After the Soviets became the first to travel the Earth's orbit in 1961, the pressure was on NASA to achieve even greater heights in space exploration. The program determined that the moon would be their target destination, and they quickly proceeded to create a structure in which that fantasy could become a reality by the end of the decade.
Nothing of this scale had ever before been attempted and the risks were incredibly high, especially given the checkered history of previous Apollo missions. The first Apollo launch resulted in the deaths of all three crew members, and subsequent unmanned flights were also plagued by mechanical failures. In spite of these severe setbacks, the program carried forward with great determination and resolve. On December 2, 1968, their efforts culminated in one of the most inspiring human achievements in history as Apollo 8 gallantly journeyed 230,000 miles into space and returned home safely six days later.
The film paints affectionate portraits of many of the key players who helped to assure the eventual success of the Apollo 8 mission, including mission manager George Low and chief pilot James Lovell. Interspersed throughout the film are invaluable insights from additional crew members and the wives who waited anxiously for their safe return, mission control engineers, and the journalists who shared the story of Apollo 8 with the nation, including legendary newsman Walter Cronkite.
Narrated with smooth authority by actor Joe Morton, Earthrise: The First Lunar Voyage is a beautifully produced tribute to those who gave hope to a nation torn asunder during the turbulent period of the late 1960s. Their accomplishments continue to inspire the belief that we can transcend the impossible when we dream big together.