History Channel To Honor Neil Armstrong with Full Day of Programming

Neil Armstrong. ((Photo by Central Press/Getty Images)

A few days ago, the Associated Press’ David Bauder waved a critical finger at TV networks for light coverage of Neil Armstrong’s death.

“Television news didn’t seem to fully recognize the importance of the first human to walk on the moon on the weekend he died,” he wrote.

Armstrong, the first human being to walk on the moon, passed away on Saturday, following heart surgery earlier in the month. He had recently celebrated his 82nd birthday.

“In the hours after Armstrong’s death was announced,” he continued, “news networks were airing canned programming — jailhouse documentaries, a rerun interview with Rielle Hunter, Mike Huckabee’s weekend show.”

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The History Channel is making up for the slight. On Tuesday, April 28, the network is honoring the pioneering astronaut’s legacy with a full day of programming that will include a 10 a.m. airing of the special “Moonshot,” which features “original NASA footage transferred to high definition and puts viewers aboard the rocket and takes them on the eight-day round-trip to outer space.”

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Another special, “Our Generation: Apollo 11: The Moon Landing, will focus on “the dream of a hopeful nation finally became a reality” and brought the world together in a moment of “unity and wonderment at the great potential of mankind.”

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Here’s the entire schedule:

8-10am – Failure Is Not an Option
10a-12p – Moonshot
12-12:30p – Our Generation: Apollo 11: The Moon Landing
12:30-1p – Tech Effect: Apollo 11
1-2p – Modern Marvels: Apollo 11
2-4p – Failure Is Not an Option
4-6p – Moonshot

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Failure is Not an Option(8am)
No one lived the adventure of America’s manned space program more fully than Gene Kranz, the Mission Control Flight Director known to moviegoers from Ed Harris’ Oscar-nominated portrayal of him in the feature film Apollo 13. FAILURE IS NOT AN OPTION is based upon Gene Kranz’s best-selling book. This world premiere program provides an insider’s view of over 30 years of technological innovation and human determination, seen from the ground up. This is not just another space documentary – it is the untold story of the engineers in Mission Control. Mission Control was presented with a never-before envisioned disaster after an explosion in space, and against all odds managed to bring the astronauts back alive. Executive Producer for History is Carl H. Lindahl. FAILURE IS NOT AN OPTION is produced for The History Channel by Lone Wolf Pictures.

Moonshot (10a, 4p)
Neil Armstrong will always be intrinsically tied with the extraordinary and breathtaking mission of Apollo 11, the first manned landing on the Moon. Moonshot is interlaced with original NASA footage transferred to high definition and puts viewers aboard the rocket and takes them on the eight-day round-trip to outer space. Life behind the scenes and edge-of-your-seat moments in space are dramatized in a film that stretches from the crew’s earliest days at NASA to the moment when Neil Armstrong and fellow astronaut Buzz Aldrin stepped on the Moon. From home life and families, to the moon itself, this is the remarkable story of one of the most chronicled events in history. Using a script based on transcripts from the mission, contemporary documents, books and interviews, the show incorporates news footage from around the world, including that of the iconic CBS anchor Walter Cronkite. Together, the drama and original material present a close-up glimpse of one of the most stunning and courageous personal and technological achievements of man…and one of the defining moments of modern history.

Our Generation: Apollo 11: The Moon Landing (12p)
With one small step for man, the dream of a hopeful nation finally became a reality. It was a tumultuous time for an embattled generation, but for one brief and shining moment, there was unity and wonderment at the great potential of mankind.

Tech Effect: Apollo 11 (12:30p)
In 1961, President Kennedy challenged the United States to put a man on the moon before the decade ended. Just under the wire in July of 1969, Neil Armstrong became the first person ever to set foot on the lunar surface. In this episode of Tech Effect, the culmination of the remarkable technological advancements of that decade are explored in the context of the lunar landing. The technology ranges from the Saturn V, the largest rocket ever built, which sent the astronauts into orbit, to the handmade computers on board the lunar module with less power than an ordinary handheld calculator. Spacesuits had long been in development to provide greater mobility and comfort to the astronauts, factors of great importance for the first moonwalk. Finally, Americans wished to share in the accomplishment of this impressive and long awaited goal, which resulted in the development of lightweight cameras brought aboard the lunar module, and a deep space network of satellites around the world to beam the pictures live into the homes of 600 million viewers.

Modern Marvels: Apollo 11 (1p)
As mankind’s greatest achievement of the 20th century, Apollo 11 stood as the pinnacle of science, exploration, flight and especially technological prowess. With the passing of Neil Armstrong, exploration of the moon is again back in the spotlight. Yet at the time, we would have been amazed by the fact that it was accomplished at all. In scarcely 10 years, America went from rocketing monkeys in 10-minute flights that scraped the edge of space to landing a man on the moon. We forced the technology of the time to the bitter edge – engineering, metallurgy, communications, computing – all these and more were driven to their limits for this grand adventure. And then there were the men aboard the flight. Leaving the Earth on July 16, 1969 were Neil Armstrong, Edwin Aldrin and Mike Collins. Each was blessed with special skills and abilities, and each would perform his duties without hesitation or error. They too were pushed to the limits of skill and endurance.

The opinions expressed are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Comcast.
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