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When We Left Earth: The NASA Missions -

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(generated from captions) Hello, Kathy Novak with a news update. Deadly cyclone Evan has wreaked havoc on Samoa's capital, Apia, leaving a trail of destruction and claiming at least two lives. Fiji is now bracing itself with Evan predicted to hit there on Sunday.

US Ambassador to the UN, Susan Rice, has bowed out of the race to replace Hillary Clinton as Secretary of State. She's been under pressure from Republicans over the US's handling of the attack on its consulate in Benghazi, Libya, and says her participation in the process would be a distraction.

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I'm back with another World News Australia update at 9:30.

NARRATOR: In 1969, a group
of astronauts changed the world.

They ride the biggest rocket
ever built to the moon.

It's the culmination of more
than 10 years of space pioneering

and the foundation
for more than four decades

of exploring worlds beyond our own.

This is the story
of our greatest adventure.

In the high desert of California,

NASA tests
an experimental rocket plane...

..the X-15.

They want to put a man into space...

..and they're in a hurry.

MAN: Rockets were powering aircraft
to higher and higher speeds.

The X-15 had enough energy to zoom
to altitudes above the atmosphere.

The X-15 flies so high,

pilots experience weightlessness

and look out
into the darkness of space.

But even at 600,000 horsepower,

it would need to fly
four times its top speed

to put a man into orbit.

The Soviet Union holds
an early lead in the space race,

launching the first unmanned
satellite to orbit the earth.

MAN 2: On October 4, 1957,
when 'Sputnik' went into orbit,

people were so upset.

They said, "These people

"can't build a refrigerator.

"How can they get into orbit?
How did this happen?"

MAN: (ON RADIO)
Five, four, three, two, one.

To beat the Soviets, NASA
must launch a man into earth orbit.

Only rockets can go fast enough -
more than 17,000 miles per hour.

They call the program
Project Mercury

and rally a team of determined
young scientists and engineers

to figure out how to fly a
military missile with a man on top.

MAN 3: Most of us came in
from aircraft flight desks.

We knew nothing about rocketry.

We knew nothing about spacecraft.

We knew nothing about orbits.

Gene Kranz
joins the flight directors' team

in NASA's earliest days.

So it was a question of
learning to drink from a fire hose.

We had to learn
all about trajectories.

I'd never heard
the term 'retrofire' -

coming on down from orbit,
getting the spacecraft back home.

Kranz develops many
of the mission-control procedures

for launching a man into space.

The Mercury Program was...
to me it was the most challenging,

because we had to virtually invent
or adapt every tool that we used.

No man has ever survived a vertical
blast-off on top of a rocket.

The risks are extremely high.

At first, even stuntmen
are considered for the job.

MAN 4: There were suggestions
they'd take people like Evel Knievel

or race drivers
or something like that,

and then President Eisenhower
just said

he'd rather have it be

military test pilots.

Test pilots are trained
to operate and analyse

experimental flying machines.

110 of the military's
best pilots qualify.

NASA selects the top seven.

MAN: These, ladies and gentlemen,
are the nation's Mercury astronauts.

(APPLAUSE)

The 'Mercury 7' astronauts
become instant celebrities.

The press follows their every move.

You knew these guys.
You lived with these guys.

You socialised with them.

They were the story.

Wally Schirra - a man of detail.

Made the best textbook flight
of them all.

Alan Shepard - extremely smart.

Scott Carpenter -
the first scientist astronaut.

Gordo Cooper -
the best pilot of the bunch.

Deke - nobody messed with him.

Great human being in every way.

Gus Grissom -
engineering savvy, quiet intellect.

John Glenn - civilised man,

probably the most level-headed.

Glenn is already a public figure

after making the first
cross-country supersonic flight.

But even for a marine,
astronaut training is intense.

They ran us through every check
they knew how to run,

I think every medical test they knew
how to do on the human body.

It was a very thorough
going-through.

MAN: (OVER RADIO) Currently at 05 G.

To carry the first astronaut
safely into space,

NASA designs a pressurised capsule.

The one-man spacecraft
replaces a nuclear warhead

as the payload
for a Redstone missile.

But they're not ready
to launch men into space.

I saw a lot of rockets launched.

I'd say that somewhere between
30% and 40% of them failed.

A lot of them came up off the pad
and went the opposite direction.

Some of them got halfway off the pad
and blew up.

Some of them got to 10,000 feet and
turned the other way and blew up.

GLENN: The whole thing crumbled
and blew up.

It looked like an atomic bomb
went off almost over our heads.

We got a big kick out of watching
the Mercury astronauts.

It was great looking at their eyes.

GLENN: We're looking at this thing
and looking at each other

and deciding we want to go back

and talk to the engineers
a little more before we go further.

Engineers make the rockets
more reliable for manned flight,

but doctors still aren't convinced

the man on top
will be able to function

in the weightlessness of space.

There was grave doubt in about
98% of the medical community

that a man could perform a task
when flying at zero gravity.

That he would have trouble seeing.

That he would have trouble
swallowing.

He would have trouble breathing.

He would have trouble talking.

We had to prove
to the medical community

that man would survive
in the first place,

and secondly,
that he could do a test.

It's not made public,

but John Glenn,
Alan Shepard and Gus Grissom

are on NASA's short list
to be America's first man in space.

We were all very competitive. We
wanted to get those first flights.

January 1961 -

the rocket and capsule
are finally ready to fly.

But none of the astronauts
are happy about NASA's choice.

A specially trained chimpanzee
named Ham

will fly the next Mercury mission.

There was a group of professional
nay-sayers in Washington

who insisted
that we do some more work

to prove a 5-minute flight
wouldn't be fatal to man.

NASA's medical team
sends Ham as a final test

that man can function in zero G.

The astronauts
fear they're losing precious time.

BARBREE: None of them liked it.

Alan was fighting to get rid
of the chimpanzee.

He didn't want the chimpanzee to
take up a rocket, to take up a seat.

January 31, 1961 -

Ham blasts off
on a sub-orbital mission into space.

MAN: (OVER RADIO) Two, one, zero.

Lift-off.

While weightless, Ham's put through
a series of tests and performs well.

Physically,
he's unaffected by zero G.

Ham splashes down off-target.

He's fatigued, dehydrated,
but generally in good shape.

His mission
proves man can function in space.

But doubts remain
about the reliability of the rockets

and they still don't know
who will fly first.

CARPENTER: It had been a big mystery
for a long time -

"Who's going to fly first?"

The director
of the Manned Spacecraft Center

finally reveals his choice.

CARPENTER: Bob Gilruth
came to our office

and he named Al
for the first ballistic flight.

BARBREE: Alan Shepard
was chosen to be the first

because he was considered to be the
smartest of the seven astronauts.

They felt if Alan, on the first one,
had anything went wrong,

he was more apt
to be able to analyse,

or fix, or do,
or get out of it.

After more tests and more delays,

NASA still hopes
to put the first man in space.

GLENN: There was certainly
competition in the group.

Nevertheless,
when it came time for a flight,

we all worked together as closely
as anybody could ever work together.

MAN: We have done everything
we know how to do

to make this as safe
as we can make it.

We're done with all the tests,

so we stand around
and look at each other one last time

and ask, "OK, are we really ready
to light this candle?"

Eventually, the answer to that
has to be yes.

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VOICEOVER: Right now, disease
is spreading through communities. Natural and man-made disasters
are putting lives at risk. But without the money
to provide medical aid, our ability to help those in need
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Alan Shepard's sub-orbital mission
finally has a launch date -

May 2.

But on April 12,
NASA receives stunning news.

The Soviet Union puts a man into
orbit and brings him back alive.

Cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin
becomes the first man in space,

just 20 days
before Shepard is scheduled to fly.

KRAFT: We were all very angry

about not being able to fly
as quickly as we could have,

and we would have beaten Gagarin
into space had we done that.

CARPENTER:
Al was not pleased at all.

He was very disappointed that he
was not to be the first spaceman.

And I was hoping for my friend
Alan Shepard beyond hope

that he would be first.

And it tears you up
to know he could have been.

Yet many milestones lie ahead.

The space race has only just begun.

BARBREE: John Glenn said,
"Let's face it -

"they beat the pants off of us.

"Now let's all go on

"and let's learn
how to fly in space."

23 days later,

May 5, 1961, 2:40am -

Shepard's pre-flight medical.

After three days of delays,
the final countdown has begun.

BARBREE: He was a cool cat,

but Alan Shepard
was an educated daredevil.

Everybody was praying
Alan could survive in space.

(MUFFLED RADIO CHATTER)

It was very exciting,
very frightening

to see a man come out of the trailer
that he was in...

..to look up at that vehicle,
to ride the elevator up,

and then wait for us
to get ready to launch.

5:21am - technicians
strap him into the capsule.

Until the hatch is opened again,

Shepard's only link to the world
is Deke Slayton -

the mission's CAPCOM,
or capsule communicator.

Down range in the Atlantic, the navy
prepares for Shepard's recovery.

45 million Americans
watch the launch live on television.

Local beaches
offer a front-row seat.

BARBREE: Everybody,
including myself, came here.

We came any way we could.

The excitement here -
if you can imagine

a million people outside these gates

trying to push through these fences,
trying to see what they can see.

Everybody was praying
and pushing for Alan Shepard.

MAN: (OVER RADIO) TM is go.

We have a momentary hold.

KRANZ: As the countdown progressed,
we had frustrations.

They had problems
with the spacecraft hatch

and Alan Shepard was
getting impatient.

Four hours later,
Shepard is losing his cool.

SHEPARD: CAPCOM, I want a chase.

OK, if you would like to...

KRAFT: You could see
Alan Shepard's heart rate go up

and it reached above 200.

Lord knows what my heart rate was.

CARPENTER: There's nothing wrong
with being frightened.

It makes you do a better job.

But no-one at mission control wants
to give the final go for launch.

KRAFT: All of us
were extremely apprehensive.

We had never had a human being
on the topside of a rocket.

MAN: (OVER RADIO) OK.
MAN 2: Resume the count.
I'm going to turn it over.

It's Alan Shepard who decides
they've waited long enough.

Finally, he says,
"Let's light this candle. Let's go."

MAN: (OVER RADIO) T minus ten, nine,
eight, seven, six, five...

BARBREE: He had one
single-line prayer that he said

just before ignition...

..one.

.."Don't mess this up."

But he didn't say "mess".

MAN: (OVER RADIO) Roger.
Lift-off, and the clock has started!

It was sort of like
the first hit in a football game.

BARBREE: When that 'Mercury'
Redstone rose above the tree line,

cars stopped.

People got out, hit their knees
and literally prayed.

SHEPARD: (OVER RADIO)
This is 'Freedom 7'...

KRANZ: We saw that guy go

and we could track him
for about the first 20 seconds,

as he went up through power flight,

and then back down at the consoles

and look at the data
and listen to the calls.

SHEPARD: (OVER RADIO)
The pressure is holding at 5.5.

Cabin holding at 5.5.

BARBREE: He is disappearing.

Here's a man
going over 100 miles into space.

SHEPARD: (OVER RADIO) Cabin 5.5...

He looked so lonely up there.

Five minutes after lift-off,

Alan Shepard becomes
America's first man in space.

Roger, yaw is OK.

Shepard's sub-orbital flight
reaches 116 miles above the earth...

..then descends.

MAN: (OVER RADIO)
Retro, five, four, three, two, one.

NASA still fears the high G forces

or extreme temperatures of re-entry
could kill him.

KRANZ: There is no question -
we, uh...

..we were...
we were sweating bullets.

This is '7'. OK.

OK. OK.

This is '7'. OK.

As expected,

mission control loses radio contact
with Shepard during re-entry.

MAN: (OVER RADIO) 'Freedom 7', this
is Indian CAPCOM. Do you read me?

'7', this is Indian CAPCOM.
Do you read me?

In mission control,
we're absolutely helpless.

'Freedom 7', this is Indian CAPCOM.
Do you read me?

'7', this is Indian CAPCOM.
Do you read me?

SHEPARD: (OVER RADIO)
Hello, CAPCOM. 'Freedom 7'.

Roger.

KRANZ: The mission
only lasted about 20 minutes...

..but this was the purest, happiest
20 minutes of our entire life.

MAN: (OVER RADIO)
He just hit the water a moment ago.

A cheer went up
from the ship's company

watching here from all decks
on the aircraft carrier.

KRAFT: I think he proved, without
a question in anybody's mind,

that man, indeed, could perform
almost any task in a spacecraft.

This was our first man in space.

And it was total joy.

BARBREE: The excitement of it -
that has never been matched.

When Alan Shepard went,
it was the unknown.

It was the unknown.

Just 20 days later,

President John Kennedy sets a new
goal for America's space program.

KENNEDY: I believe that this nation
should commit itself

to achieving the goal,
before this decade is out,

of landing a man on the moon

and returning him safely
to the earth.

LUNNEY: This young president of ours
gets up and says,

"We're going to go to the moon
and we're going to land there

"and we're going to bring the people
back home, within the decade."

I was staggered
or stunned or overwhelmed

by the scale of the challenge.

The first American
has barely reached space

and NASA still hasn't put a man
into orbit.

But the countdown
to the end of the decade has begun.

We had the knowledge, the moxie
and the will to not only catch up,

but surpass and beat them
in the business of space flight.

NASA wants to put another man
into space in a hurry

to prove Shepard's mission
was no fluke.

BARBREE: They figured Gus Grissom
is the engineer,

so Gus will make the second flight

and he'll be looking at
more engineering questions.

But the intense training

prepares them to do very little
actual flying in space.

Seven of the world's best pilots
want a spacecraft THEY can control.

MAN: Gus was somewhat frustrated

because the people
that were putting this together

were trying to make it so that the
astronaut really had nothing to do.

He was just riding in this thing.

KRAFT: It took a while
to convince the pilots

that we wanted to use their talents

in making the machine better.

And then they realised
that's what we were trying to do

and we had a great relationship
with the seven astronauts

for that very reason.

GLENN: We split up the duties
in the group itself.

And one of my duties
was in cockpit layout,

organising your instrument panel

so you get the information
when you need it.

Deke was going to file
a booster development for us.

Scott, I think, was on navigation

and how we're going to keep
track of where this thing is.

Gus Grissom had the whole recovery
effort and organising the navy.

So each of us had sort of
a specialty area like that.

NASA redesigns the capsule.

Grissom will have greater control
over the flight of his spacecraft

and a new explosive escape hatch.

Grissom names his capsule
'Liberty Bell 7'.

It has another
important new feature.

GLENN: In the original spacecraft
design, there was no window.

The reason was that
that was going to add weight.

Not only the window itself,
which had to be thick,

but the support structure around it,

and weight was critical.

10 weeks
after Alan Shepard's flight,

Gus Grissom is ready
for a second sub-orbital mission.

Shepard is Grissom's CAPCOM.

SHEPARD: (OVER RADIO)
Four, three, two, one.

Clear lift-off, lift-off!

SHEPARD: (OVER RADIO) I understand.

15 minutes and 37 seconds
after blast-off,

nearly a bulls-eye splashdown.

The capsule had landed in the water.

At that point,
we thought it had gone well.

Another perfect flight.

Mission control celebrates.

It was the joy
of having a successful mission.

Came off like a piece of cake.

Gus was sitting there
minding his own business

and all at once it was pow!

The hatch blew and water
had started coming in over the side.

The capsule starts sinking.

Grissom has only moments to escape.

The spacesuit
is designed to keep him afloat.

He had forgot to close
one of the valves in his suit,

and it was letting water in.

No longer a life preserver,
the suit fills with water

and drags him under.

The prop wash from the helicopter

was starting to cause
a big problem.

He was very close to drowning.

Unaware Gus is in trouble,

helicopter pilot Jim Lewis tries
to save the sinking capsule first.

We almost had it free and out,
but every time it came out,

a wave would come along and grab it

and pull it back down.

KRANZ: In mission control,
we're absolutely helpless.

We were watching the helicopter

trying to grapple
and lift the spacecraft up,

and we could see
Gus struggling out there

in the rotor wash.

And, in mission control,
a lot of us were saying,

"Forget the spacecraft!
Get Gus! Get Gus! Get Gus!"

Suddenly, Lewis has another problem.

A warning light
indicates his engine is overheating.

LEWIS: Normally when that happened,

you had about five minutes' worth
of engine power

before experiencing
an engine failure.

I didn't want Gus in my aircraft in
the event that we lost the engine.

(MUFFLED RADIO CHATTER)

We were going to lose him.

A second chopper
rushes in to pick up Grissom...

..as Lewis
struggles with the capsule.

Grissom is safe.

But 'Liberty Bell 7'

and all its invaluable data

are lost.

The entire spacecraft sank
in three miles of water,

which was deeper than the 'Titanic'.

And we had no vehicles that
were capable of doing a recovery.

KRANZ: We lost the spacecraft.

But we got our crewman back.

Gus was destroyed
about losing his capsule.

He said that that was
the only craft that he ever lost.

President Kennedy
congratulates Grissom.

But sub-orbital flights
aren't enough.

America is still coming in second
in the race for space.

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And NASA still hasn't fulfilled the
primary goal of Project Mercury -

launching a man into orbit
and bringing him home alive.

They said, "There's no sense
in hanging around here."

GLENN: The Soviets were claiming
superiority to the United States.

They had already made
orbital flights.

And so the pressure was on us

to see whether
we could do
the same thing.

BARBREE: Everybody loved John Glenn

simply because
of his talent

to deal
with the public.

In his capsule, 'Friendship 7',

John Glenn will attempt
NASA's first orbital mission.

After more than a month of delays,
he's finally ready to fly.

KRANZ: We lived in a motel about
15 miles south of the Space Center,

and every morning, when we'd
get ready to come out to work,

we'd go and look and see

if the searchlights were on
on the launch pad.

If the searchlights were on,
we felt pretty confident driving in,

because somebody was out there
doing something

and the countdown
was more than likely progressing.

You felt, "OK, we're going for it.
We're going to get it today."

NASA needs more power
to put a spacecraft into orbit.

The larger Atlas rocket will blast
Glenn 162 miles above the earth

at a speed of 17,500 miles an hour.

BARBREE: John Glenn -
he was a fighter pilot

in World War II, then Korea.

He had three different aircraft

that were literally
shot out from under him

and he managed
to fly those things home.

So they said,
"John will bring it back down."

Glenn will orbit the earth
three times.

NASA's biggest concern -

Shepard and Grissom were weightless
for five minutes...

..Glenn will be weightless
for nearly five hours.

Someone had predicted
that in zero G,

your eyes no longer needed
to be supported

by the structure under the eye

and that your eye would gradually
change shape in orbit.

Your eye might change enough

you'd have trouble seeing
the instrument panel.

NASA has tracking stations
all over the world.

KRAFT: We had the capability
to track spacecraft by radar

and we had the capability
of getting EKG

and heart rate and breath rate,

as well as telling us
what was going on in the spacecraft.

(MUFFLED RADIO CHATTER)

MAN: (OVER RADIO) T minus seven,
we'll... We might have it by then.

Roger.

GLENN: I'd been through
about 11 scheduled dates

and three times up there.

So when it finally came,
it was almost a surprise to go.

When you're out there and you're
actually on the launch pad,

there's no way to simulate that.

MAN: (OVER RADIO)
Your attention, please.

On my mark
we will pick up the count.

More than 50,000 people
watch from nearby Cocoa Beach.

We reporters would watch
from the beaches then

because they wouldn't let us in.

But we kept banging at the gates
and kicking at the fences.

They said, "They're more

"of a nuisance outside

"than they'll be on the inside,"
so they finally let us in.

It was just the greatest place
in the world.

100 million people across America

watch the countdown
live on television.

MAN: (OVER RADIO)
T minus 15 minutes.

GLENN: When it came time to go,
the whole world was with me.

MAN: (OVER RADIO)
All recorders to fast.

T minus 18 seconds and counting.

I was the communicator
for the countdown.

I wanted to say something like,
"Bon voyage, buddy.

"Have a good time."

And also enlist the aid of our maker
in protecting him.

Ten, nine...

GLENN: I was expecting somebody
to say a launch hold of some kind.

..four, three, two, one, zero.

I couldn't believe it.

BARBREE: The excitement
of John Glenn going into orbit...

This was THE adventure
of the 20th century.

REPORTER: The moment when the final
Atlas engine will shut down,

when 'Friendship 7' should separate
from the booster rocket

and begin orbital flight.

GLENN: After all the dire
predictions of what might happen,

how you might feel in space
and zero G,

and there wasn't
any problem at all.

Of course,
in the 'Mercury' spacecraft,

there wasn't any place to float to.

You were just in there, you're in
a cockpit, you're strapped in.

The most you could do
would be loosen the straps

to be a little more comfortable.

But I was elated feeling of zero G

and seeing how things work and
seeing whether you could swallow.

Nothing prepares you for the view
as you look outside.

You can see the curvature
of the earth's surface...

..and whole nations
just at a glance.

As Glenn orbits the earth,

mission control follows him from
one tracking station to the next.

LUNNEY: I was at
a tracking station in Bermuda

and the tracking from the Cape

was beginning to get very marginal

as the vehicle sunk down,

going over the horizon.

And the tracking from Bermuda

was becoming an increasingly
better location

to measure the fact
that we were in orbit.

It was fun.
It was demanding, but it was fun.

We really enjoyed ourselves.

KRAFT: Everything was going so well

that it was beyond belief
that it could go that easily.

But as Glenn
completes his first orbit,

mission control
confronts its first crisis in space.

The telemetry people
noticed a signal

which was indicating
that the heat shield had come loose.

It was very scary to me.

If, indeed,
the heat shield WAS loose,

during re-entry, the spacecraft
would probably get very hot,

temperatures of 3,000 degrees.

The heat might burn off the heat
shield and it would've killed him.

We ran a few tests to see
if what we were seeing was correct.

We began to ask him questions.

Do I feel any bumping,
or something like that?

So it's quite obvious
they weren't telling me

exactly what they were
thinking on the ground.

If the problem is real,

the straps for the retro rockets

are the only thing
holding the heat shield in place.

Roger, say again.

CARPENTER:
John didn't like not being told

what was wrong with the machine
that he was flying.

KRAFT: Reason we didn't is because

there wasn't anything
HE could do about it.

GLENN: I think
the astronaut needs to know

everything they know on the ground -

if they lost communications,

the astronaut
should have all the information.

The engineers quietly hope
the straps hold

until the capsule hits denser air.

Then the force of descent should
keep the heat shield in place.

GLENN: When I first started re-entry
and the retro rockets fired,

the straps that held that retro pack
onto the basic spacecraft itself

burned off.

There were burning chunks
coming back by the window.

Sort of a thump on the spacecraft.

During re-entry, ionised plasma
builds up around the spacecraft,

causing a radio blackout
for about three minutes.

The world waits to hear
if John Glenn is dead or alive.

The heat shield was NOT loose.

It was a micro switch malfunction.

With Glenn's orbital flight,

the US finally catches up
to the Soviet Union.

John Glenn instantly becomes
one of America's greatest heroes.

GLENN: We'd been concentrated
so much on this mission for so long,

just didn't think
much about anything else.

Then to have it over
was really a big relief.

(CHEERING)

CARPENTER: After John's flight,
we were all proud.

I was proud of him.

We were all proud
of the United States for doing it.

KRAFT: It was proof positive
that this country could compete

in the world of space flight,

and that the Russians, indeed,
were not ahead of us.

KENNEDY: Some months ago,

I said that I hoped that every
American would serve his country.

Today, Colonel Glenn served his

and we all express our thanks
to him.

We have a long way to go
in the space race,

but this is the new ocean,

and I believe the United States
must sail on it

and be in a position
second-to-none.

The US is on track
to fulfil Kennedy's dream,

yet orbital flight
is just one small step.

Now NASA must begin to explore
the hostile territory of space.

GLENN: The reason
you're going up there

is not just to see
if you can do it,

it's to do basic research.

In his capsule, 'Aurora 7',
Scott Carpenter will fly next.

CARPENTER: John's flight
was an experimental test flight.

Mine was to be more
of a scientific investigation.

There were visibility experiments.

There were capsule-manoeuvring
tasks that were new.

It was a very busy flight plan.

MAN: (OVER RADIO)
Your attention, please.

All personnel, please clear the
test stand area to the roadblock.

'Aurora 7' blasts off
for three orbits of the earth,

nearly five hours in space.

MAN: (OVER RADIO)
Five, four, three, two, one, zero.

Ignition.

Scott Carpenter -
I call him a romanticist.

He was interested
in the beauty of space,

the sunrise and the sunset.

CARPENTER: I remember
just spinning a camera a little

and then letting it go...

..and watch it stay right there.

That's an amazing sight.

The view and the weightlessness.

Things do look different.

The stars don't twinkle anymore.

There's no atmosphere.

It's an addictive sight.

He was distracted many times
during the flight.

For the first time,

conflicts arise between
the astronaut and mission control.

He kept using the fuel
in a cavalier fashion.

He was manoeuvring the spacecraft
to look here, there and everywhere

at sights that he wanted to see.

Frankly, I can understand that.

There was a requirement
for me to expend more fuel

because of the observations
I wanted to make.

KRAFT: During the first revolution,

he used up the fuel in the automatic
control system almost completely.

We had told him
to stop using that system.

He got to the manual system

and used up all but about
10 or 20% of the manual fuel.

Scott Carpenter
is running out of gas.

KRAFT: When he came up
on retro fire,

the fuel had been almost
entirely depleted.

I didn't have any fuel.
The thrusters were not working.

For re-entry,

Carpenter has to manually
turn the capsule 180 degrees

so the heat shield faces down.

But he has another problem.

An automatic attitude sensor
used to align the capsule

is off by nearly 40 degrees,

and only Carpenter knows it.

He did not tell us that

and we had no way of knowing,
on the ground,

there was this bias there.

Now he's got to fire
the retro rockets manually.

Roger.

With a faulty sensor,
Carpenter's already off-target.

If he's not positioned perfectly
with the heat shield down,

the capsule will burn up.

CARPENTER:
You subject the capsule to heating,

and that could be
catastrophic, fatal.

MAN: (OVER RADIO)
Four, three, two, one, zero.

Mission control loses contact with
Carpenter during the radio blackout.

Three minutes later, nothing.

MAN: (OVER RADIO) 'Aurora 7',
'Aurora 7', Cape CAPCOM. Over.

MAN: (OVER RADIO) 'Aurora 7',
'Aurora 7', Cape CAPCOM. Over.

After 40 minutes, still not a word
from Scott Carpenter.

The press is already speculating

that NASA
has lost its first astronaut.

MAN: (OVER RADIO) 'Aurora 7',
'Aurora 7', Cape CAPCOM. Over.

MAN: (OVER RADIO) 'Aurora 7',
'Aurora 7', Cape CAPCOM. Over.

Finally, reconnaissance flights

locate Carpenter
250 miles off-target.

CARPENTER: Nobody knew
where I was after my flight,

but I knew exactly where I was.

Carpenter floats in the Atlantic
for three hours.

CARPENTER: Nothing worked
exactly the way it should have,

but we brought back some interesting
new information in space flight.

Scott Carpenter
achieves all his mission objectives,

yet flight controllers
think many of the problems he faced

could have been avoided.

Five months later,
Wally Schirra flies six orbits.

Then Gordo Cooper circles the earth
22 times over a day and a half.

Cooper becomes the first American
to sleep in space

and the last
to orbit solo around the earth.

As Project Mercury comes to an end,

Project Gemini is already preparing
to blast-off again

with a bold new goal
for America's exploration of space.

(CHEERING)

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.

The Mercury Program was the most
challenging of all the work

that we've ever done in space.

KRANZ: To a great extent,
the Mercury astronauts

were literally flying
by the seat of their pants.

There's nothing,
I think, that could prepare us

for that kind of an experience.

I've been very fortunate.

We were all for one and one for all.

The Mercury Astronauts

took the first heroic steps

into a new frontier.

At the dawn of the space age,

Project Mercury lays the foundation
for the great adventure to come.

Supertext Captions by
Red Bee Media Australia
Captions copyright SBS 2012

Hello. Kathy Novak with the latest headlines. Fiji is bracing for Cyclone Evan which has already left a destructive and deadly mark on Samoa. It's wreaked havoc in the capital, Apia, and at least two people are confirmed dead. 2DayFM has stepped-up security as police investigate death threats made against staff in Sydney over the ill-fated royal prank. US Senator John Kerry looks a sure bet to replace Hillary Clinton as Secretary of State, after Ambassador to the UN, Susan Rice, bowed out of the race. She's been under pressure from Republicans over the US's handling of the attack on its consulate in Benghazi, Libya. And Australians have featured prominently in the Golden Globe nominations as awards season officially kicked off in Hollywood. I'll have a full World News Australia bulletin at 10:30pm.

Our history has been shaped
by centuries of war.

From the armies of the Romans...

to the modern,
global conflicts of today.

I'm Saul David
and I'm a military historian.

What history tells us
again and again is that

beyond the derring-do
of military commanders,

it's the nuts and bolts
of how you house and feed your army,

how you move it
and kit it ready for battle,

that's the real key to winning wars.

Today, military logistics
dominates modern warfare,

with entire branches of specialists
dedicated to feeding, moving,

and kitting out frontline soldiers
ready for battle.

This is the story
of how this elaborate,
high-tech world came to be,

because throughout history,
the greatest challenges

faced by any military commander
have remained the same.

If you don't keep
your soldiers fed,

they'll never even make it
to the battlefield.

Think about it this way,

you're slaughtering for 80,000 men
a minimum of 300 animals per day.

If you can't move your men,
and fast,

you'll never steal a march
on the enemy.

US General George C Marshall
once described

the Jeep as America's greatest
contribution to modern warfare.

And don't forget,
America invented the atomic bomb.

And any army that isn't equipped
with the latest technology

has literally been cut to shreds.

Some of the greatest failures
and victories in history

have come down to the detail
of military logistics -

the real story of how wars
are won and lost.

Throughout history,

armies have faced certain constant
and highly destructive enemies,

but I'm not talking about
physical opponents,

rather hunger, thirst and disease.

Even today, a general's main task
is to house his men,

feed them and keep them fit
for combat,

because if he gets that wrong, he's
sunk even before a shot is fired.

This film is about
health, housing and food,

and the kit armies have used
to stay alive throughout history.

We'll see how Wellington
had to take an entire herd of cows
with him on campaign...

..how a supply disaster
in the Crimea

led to a turning point
in military history...

..and how the humble tin can

made possible the entrenched
warfare of World War One...

Because any general's primary
challenge is that of basic survival.

Quite simply of keeping your men
alive and well enough to fight.

2000 years ago,

the Roman Empire was built
and sustained by a vast army.

At its peak, 450,000 men
patrolled Pax Romana

from Egypt
all the way to Britain.

In AD 122, during the reign
of the Emperor Hadrian,

the construction of this wall began

to separate the Romans
from the barbarians.

This marked the very limit
of the vast Roman Empire.

And the 10,000 soldiers stationed
on this bleak, northern frontier

had to be kept housed,
fed and healthy

just like today's troops
in Afghanistan.

Vindolanda is one of
the best preserved of all
the forts the Romans created,

home to over 2000 soldiers
and families.

So here we are at the barrack blocks
where the soldiers actually lived.

If you come inside,
you'll get a sense of space.

This was state-of-the-art.
You would have had insulated walls.

At the front of each block
was a fireplace
to keep them warm in winter

and crucially
and most extraordinary, I think,

there would have been glass
in the windows.

Civilian houses here didn't have
glass for another 1000 years

and then only people
who could afford it.

It's astonishing to think
of the level of detail the Romans
were prepared to go to.