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schlaugh
2008-Jun-07, 02:56 PM
50 Years of NASA’s Home Movies (http://www.nytimes.com/2008/06/06/arts/television/06eart.html)

And in hi-def no less...


ABOUT midway through “When We Left Earth,” a sweeping new video history of the American space program, the former NASA (http://topics.nytimes.com/top/reference/timestopics/organizations/n/national_aeronautics_and_space_administration/index.html?inline=nyt-org) flight director Eugene F. Kranz looks into the camera with an intensity that is almost frightening.

“The power of space was to raise our aspirations to those things that are possible,” he says, “if we will commit.”

He punches each of those last four words, so it comes out “If. We. Will. Commit!”

Those four words lay out the underlying argument of the six hours of a NASA documentary that goes far beyond recounting history, and which begins on Sunday at 9 p.m., Eastern and Pacific times, on the Discovery Channel.


Mr. Kranz is not just making a statement. He’s asking a question — will we commit? — and issuing a challenge:

Well?

01101001
2008-Jun-07, 03:27 PM
See topic TV alert (http://www.bautforum.com/space-exploration/75041-tv-alert.html).

(I think this topic here is probably the best place to carry on discussion of the series over the weeks.)

schlaugh
2008-Jun-08, 04:42 PM
For whatever reasons, Comcast in my area already has Part 2 available for free On Demand viewing. I watched it yesterday and it was visually good but skimpy on some details in the narration; e.g. the Gemini 8 crisis is mentioned almost in passing.

Still, there was some footage that I had never seen such as film shot by Borman and Lovell on Gemini 7 of a submarine-based Trident or Polaris launch. Very interesting to watch the arc move up and towards G7 (it was planned). And some decent albeit breif interveiws with Gene Lunney, John Young, Gene Cernan, Buzz Aldrin, Chris Kraft and Eugene Kranz, among others.

macmankev
2008-Jun-09, 02:54 AM
I'm watching this, and so far it's pretty amazing. The original footage is breathtaking. Getting to see the first EVA and the Gemini 6 and 7 capsules flying in formation together is just amazing.

randycat99
2008-Jun-09, 03:14 AM
They kept saying that if the astronaut suit rips (or has a leak) during an EVA in the vacuum of space, that it would be immediately fatal. I thought that the "immediacy" has been established to not be so immediate, under such a condition (science discussions from other space movies). Granted, that such a condition would certainly be cause for great concern, but is the "immediate death" bit really accurate?

Jason
2008-Jun-09, 04:31 AM
Well, considering you can only live about a minute maximum, and that they couldn't get them back in the capsule and re-pressurized that fast "immediate" is pretty close.

I thought it was pretty awesome. How I wish we were going somewhere today instead of just mucking about in low Earth orbit with the space truck (shuttle).

randycat99
2008-Jun-09, 06:24 AM
I believe the specific wording they used was as follows:

"If there is a failure in the suit, it will kill him instantly."

I dunno, it just doesn't sound "right" to me. Taking into account your scenario, I could accept if they worded it to the effect that it would be "certain death". "Kill him instantly" still seems to imply something other than that. So now I am curious if they really mean that something happens "instantly", rather than just "very soon after" since the logistics involved preclude getting him into a safe environment in time.

Van Rijn
2008-Jun-09, 07:49 AM
I believe the specific wording they used was as follows:

"If there is a failure in the suit, it will kill him instantly."


I dunno, it just doesn't sound "right" to me.


It's not, but it is dramatic, and they probably didn't want to explain the details. How quickly they would die would depend on the type and extent of the problem. If someone is fully exposed to vacuum, but is otherwise undamaged, they could have 10 or so seconds of consciousness, and could be alive for several minutes. If they aren't fully exposed to vacuum, they might have longer. If they are badly hurt in whatever accident caused the problem, it could be shorter.

Maksutov
2008-Jun-09, 12:23 PM
The first two hours (for some reason presented as two separate shows where the first hour of the two hour show repeated the content of the hour show) were so full of mistakes, it was incredible.

For instance, in the sequence where launch disasters were being shown, a Saturn launch was featured. There were no Saturn launch disasters. They all launched successfully.

And the Mercury retrorockets weren't required to be pointed "down" as the narration claimed, but toward the orbital path, i.e., the retros would be leading, not trailing. And not "perfectly" either. You can always tell when the writer is not a scientist/engineer when such words start getting bandied about.

More blunders (with illustrations) later.

Doesn't anyone ever do a technical review of these things before they're released for broadcast?

Swift
2008-Jun-09, 01:53 PM
I thought it was "ok". The pictures were nice, and it was nice to see all the interviews with people. But, as Mak said, there were a lot of mistakes. And I felt they kind of rushed through things - the entire Mercury program in one hour. It gave the TV program kind of a choppy feeling.

Larry Jacks
2008-Jun-09, 02:06 PM
When they were talking about the number of Titan missile failures, they showed two Titan I (http://www.astronautix.com/lvs/titan1.htm) missiles blowing up. Gemini used Titan IIs (http://www.astronautix.com/lvs/titan2.htm). Those were completely different missiles (engines, propellants, etc). The Titan I had a success rate of under 76% (17 failures out of 70 attempts). The Titan II did have several failures in 1963 but overall, the success rate was over 93% (7 failures out of 106 launches).

The video footage was very good. I would've liked to see them give more coverage to Gordon Cooper's Mercury mission (http://www.astronautix.com/flights/merryma9.htm). There were several failed systems (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mercury-Atlas_9#Technical_problems_on_the_flight) by the time he reentered that it took some pretty good piloting on his part to come home safely.

On the nineteenth orbit, the first sign of trouble appeared when the spacecraft 0.05 g (0.5 m/s²) light came on. However, this turned out to be a faulty indicator, and the spacecraft was not reentering. On the 20th orbit, Cooper lost all attitude readings. The 21st orbit saw a short-circuit occur in the bus bar serving the 250 volt main inverter. This left the automatic stabilization and control system without electric power.

On the 21st orbit, John Glenn onboard the Coastal Sentry Quebec near Kyūshū, Japan, helped Cooper prepare a revised checklist for retrofire. Due to the system malfunctions, many of the steps would have to be done manually. Only Hawaii and Zanzibar were in radio range on this last orbit, but communications were good. Cooper noted that the carbon dioxide level was rising in the cabin and in his spacesuit. He told Carpenter as he passed over Zanzibar, "Things are beginning to stack up a little." Throughout the problems, Cooper remained cool, calm and collected.

At the end of the 21st orbit, Cooper again contacted Glenn on the Coastal Sentry Quebec. He reported the spacecraft was in retro attitude and holding manually. The checklist was complete. Glenn gave a ten-second countdown to retrofire. Cooper kept the spacecraft aligned at a 34 degree pitchdown angle and manually fired the retrorockets on "Mark!".

Fifteen minutes later the Faith 7 landed just four miles (6 km) from the prime recovery ship, the carrier USS Kearsarge. This was the most accurate landing to date, despite the lack of automatic controls.

Trebuchet
2008-Jun-09, 11:12 PM
I had to turn in about 10 minutes into the second hour. Getting up at 5:00 AM does cramp my viewing a bit.

I thought the show was just ok. Lots of stuff that wasn't quite right, as Maksutov points out, lots of little clips of things that weren't relevant to what they were talking about, contrived cliffhangers ahead of each commercial break. But some of the interviews were interesting (but much too short and broken up) and it was fun seeing the events I remember from childhood.

There was much too little about the Soviet space program, as well.

schlaugh
2008-Jun-09, 11:37 PM
There was much too little about the Soviet space program, as well.

Since the subtitle of the series is "The NASA Missions" I suspect we won't hear much detail about Soviet efforts. That said, I hope the series provides background on the Apollo-Soyuz mission during the fourth episode.

This is looking like the TV version of a weakly-written "coffee table" book. Lots of big animal pictures but not too deep.

KaiYeves
2008-Jun-10, 06:37 PM
I don't like the collage format of the magazine ads they did for this. Too chaotic looking.

Swift
2008-Jun-10, 08:14 PM
I don't like the collage format of the magazine ads they did for this. Too chaotic looking.
I haven't seen the ads, but it sounds like they describe the show pretty well. ;)

geonuc
2008-Jun-10, 09:36 PM
The first two hours (for some reason presented as two separate shows where the first hour of the two hour show repeated the content of the hour show) were so full of mistakes, it was incredible.
I didn't watch the first episode, but I'm disappointed that the NY Times article linked in the OP doesn't mention anything about mistakes. Aren't journalists supposed to do that, rather than just act like PR agents?

Jason
2008-Jun-10, 09:37 PM
Gee, did no one like it?

schlaugh
2008-Jun-10, 11:03 PM
I didn't watch the first episode, but I'm disappointed that the NY Times article linked in the OP doesn't mention anything about mistakes. Aren't journalists supposed to do that, rather than just act like PR agents?

That assumes the journalist could spot the mistakes in the first place. IMO if the writer knew there were errors s/he probably would have mentioned it and most of the errors are somewhat subtle; e.g. you'd have to know that the failed rocket launches were something other than the Saturn V. That does not excuse good journalistic scholarship but then again, it'd be tough to verify every statement in the show.

Jason, I liked the first two episodes because I saw footage I had never seen before (or had long ago forgotten), such as the sinking of Liberty Bell 7, Grissom almost drowning and the rather distraught look on his face when he's on the phone on the aircraft carrier, still in his pressure suit, trying to explain to somebody on the other end what the heck just happened.

I just would have liked it more if the producers strove for better accuracy in the narration and did a tighter job of linking the narration to what was being shown in the film at any given moment.

randycat99
2008-Jun-11, 03:58 AM
I thought most of it was interesting, as well. That is apart from there seeming to be a lot of factual errors. I guess it can give off an estranged impression given the program content is about NASA and its space program. One only anticipates that the production would take on a similar attention to quality and accuracy.

The drama of getting the job done with only a hair's width margin between success and disaster does come across, imo. I am also amazed when an impromptu "situation" arrives where literally nobody on the ground can save you, and one man has to think on his feet and take action to save it all from disaster. That's some hair-raising stuff! Stuff like that really nails the message of the extreme caliber that these men were made of.

KaiYeves
2008-Jun-11, 08:12 PM
Don't get me wrong, I like muticolored collages, but not for space exploration. Single, powerful images seem to work best for it in my mind.

NEOWatcher
2008-Jun-17, 12:28 PM
Don't get me wrong, I like muticolored collages, but not for space exploration. Single, powerful images seem to work best for it in my mind.
Yes; but how do you get the historical images to high def? If you don't have the resolution to begin with, you just pack more on the screen to fill the resolution. That might explain a few at least.

Mistakes and all (I saw plenty), I still think it was a good show. Mainly because I rarely see anything about Mercury/Gemini.
I haven't seen the second episode yet, but I'm not that anxious. I've seen lots on Apollo, and I have a feeling it's going to be another (mainly) A11/13 show for the drama.

cjl
2008-Jun-17, 08:21 PM
Well, it included some decent stuff on Skylab and the earlier apollos, though 13 did use up a bit too much time IMO.

redshifter
2008-Jun-18, 07:57 PM
I liked the Skylab stuff, as I knew practically nothing about it. I didn't realize they used the third stage of a Saturn V for instance. I also didn't know it had issues with heat build up untill they strapped a heat shield to it.

Overall, I've enjoyed this show. However I know a lot less about NASA than most on this thread, so I noticed very few errors. Most laypeople watching it probably didn't notice any either, though this show does come across as aimed at laypeople IMO.

So far my favorite footage is of the first EVA. I can't imagine what it must've been like opening the hatch to go outside - what a view!

Maksutov
2008-Jun-19, 02:47 AM
Don't miss the final two episodes of the Discovery Channel series When We Left Earth this Sunday, June 22, at 9PM! For the space program's 50th anniversary, NASA has unlocked it's vaults to reveal mission and training footage completely restored and remastered for this limited HD television experience. For more info, visit:
http://dsc.discovery.com/tv/nasa/nasa.htmlWelcome to the BAUT, DiscoveryTV!

Read the FAQs (http://www.bautforum.com/faq.php?faq=vb_faq), especially the rules (http://www.bautforum.com/about-baut/32864-rules-posting-board.html#post564845), and have fun.

Meanwhile, any chance in the future you guys might subject one or more of your documentaries to a professional technical review before release?

jt-3d
2008-Jun-19, 05:25 AM
I think that there was a spambot.

01101001
2008-Jun-19, 05:59 AM
I think that there was a spambot.

Google reports just a few occurrences of some of the phrases about the web, but the message each time is the same. I'd think a good bot would have been busier. I hope it's a person who was selecting appropriate places to paste a relevant message, someone who will actually interact with the target audience. Otherwise it's a slimy, manipulative, greedy marketing tactic that lowers my respect for Discovery TV.

How about it, DiscoveryTV, are you here to interact with your peers, or are you only here to just pound home your marketing message?

Edit: Discovery Channel Viewer Relations contacted, informed, and asked if Discovery Channel shills their programs in discussion forums. They claim to always respond within 7 days to inquiries.

(My bet as to response: "Oh, we thought you and your friends would appreciate knowing when the next episode of the show will be on. We do this as a service to potential viewers. Thank you for your comments. Please watch Dirty Jobs, with new episodes appearing every Monday evening.")

Maksutov
2008-Jun-19, 06:32 AM
Didn't we have someone a few years back doing the same thing, i.e., pushing Science Channel, History Channel, etc., programs?

NEOWatcher
2008-Jun-19, 03:53 PM
Google reports just a few occurrences of some of the phrases about the web, but the message each time is the same. I'd think a good bot would have been busier. I hope it's a person who was selecting appropriate places to paste a relevant message, someone who will actually interact with the target audience. Otherwise it's a slimy, manipulative, greedy marketing tactic that lowers my respect for Discovery TV.
Maybe a sponsor of the show?

If it's truly somebody trying to interact with the target audience, I would have thought that the post would flow a little more than what's in the thread.
Something along the lines of "if you liked those two, you'll like the final episode...".
There are only 3, right? and we discused 2, so where does final 2 fit into the discussion?

Lurking Nerd
2008-Jun-19, 05:48 PM
There are only 3, right? and we discused 2, so where does final 2 fit into the discussion?

Here http://dsc.discovery.com/tv/nasa/programs/programs.html it says


Discovery will premiere two full episodes as single two-hour shows.

Don't know about you, but I didn't notice much at the top of the hour that would signal the start of a new episode. It sure seemed like it was designed to be a two-hour episode rather than 2 one-hour episodes shown together.

NEOWatcher
2008-Jun-19, 06:03 PM
Don't know about you, but I didn't notice much at the top of the hour that would signal the start of a new episode. It sure seemed like it was designed to be a two-hour episode rather than 2 one-hour episodes shown together.
I would definitly agree with you there for both Sundays.
So there are 6 episodes, we have seen 4, and two single hour episodes to come.

What will convince me of them being one hour shows, is when they go into repeats and we see how they treat going from one to another.

By the way... So far, I haven't seen much more than what was covered in this DVD set (http://www.amazon.com/Nasa-Collection-1-Collection/dp/B000MMMTH8/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=dvd&qid=1213898395&sr=1-1)(W/#2) or This one (http://www.amazon.com/NASA-50-Years-Space-Exploration/dp/B0000AOV3M/ref=sr_1_10?ie=UTF8&s=dvd&qid=1213898395&sr=1-10). Although, they did clean it up and quantify a lot of it fairly well. And they did tie in the interviews well.

01101001
2008-Jun-20, 10:36 PM
Edit: Discovery Channel Viewer Relations contacted, informed, and asked if Discovery Channel shills their programs in discussion forums. They claim to always respond within 7 days to inquiries.

(My bet as to response: "Oh, we thought you and your friends would appreciate knowing when the next episode of the show will be on. We do this as a service to potential viewers. Thank you for your comments. Please watch Dirty Jobs, with new episodes appearing every Monday evening.")

I wasn't far off. First response came from a robot and said they were really busy and would try to get a response out soon, and in the meantime I should come on down to discovery.com and see that shows they were offering when. Apparently their motto might be: Never miss an opportunity to insult a viewer with more marketing hype.

Second response looks like it came from a robot -- or from a person acting like one. It totally ignored my direct questions and thanked me for sharing my thoughts. Total whoosh. Form letter.

Shame on you, Discovery TV. I now see you as dropping in quality.

I would still welcome some interaction with BAUT member DiscoveryTV. Show us you're a real person and you're not just a shill for a soulless corporation.

ToSeek
2008-Jun-20, 10:39 PM
I would still welcome some interaction with BAUT member DiscoveryTV. Show us you're a real person and you're not just a shill for a soulless corporation.

The IP address tracks to an ad agency. They're history.

01101001
2008-Jun-20, 10:47 PM
The IP address tracks to an ad agency. They're history.

History Channel? Ha.

OK. As it should be.

This does lower the Discovery Channel in my esteem. I hope the next marketdroid that might drop by for a strafing run might stop, think, and see how this unfolded and maybe resist doing yet more damage to the company's reputation.

Who am I kiddin'?

Mike Rowe: Tell the Discovery Channel execs who dream up this stuff that they have a really Dirty Job!

publiusr
2008-Jun-30, 09:27 PM
Kranz seems to be behind Ares Constellation.