Mission Control: The Unsung Heroes of Apollo | Chicago Reader
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Mission Control: The Unsung Heroes of Apollo

Hidden Figures dramatized the true story of four black women whose mathematical skills enabled NASA's Mercury program to send John Glenn into orbit in 1962; coming on the heels of that movie, this documentary about the development of NASA's Mission Control Center in Houston can't help but feel like white-male backlash. Director David Fairhead (In the Shadow of the Moon) interviews a large contingent of Mission Control veterans—you know, those guys in the crew cuts, black neckties, and white, short-sleeved shirts—and they relive some of the more storied missions of the Apollo moon-landing program: Apollo 1, scuttled after an electrical fire in the rocket cabin killed three astronauts in 1967; Apollo 11, which landed Neil Armstrong on the moon two years later; and Apollo 13, the disaster-plagued 1970 mission later immortalized in the Ron Howard movie of the same name. This is the usual mix of talking heads and archival footage, but Fairhead also inserts detailed CGI sequences that vividly illustrate the technical issues unfolding.


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