Actual recordings of the transmissions from Mission Control were used in the movie, including CapCom and fellow astronaut Charlie Duke’s famous mispronunciation, “We copy you down Twankquility,” in his genuine excitement after Armstrong and Aldrin finally landed at Tranquility Base.
An intense but non-graphic recreation of the tragic Apollo 1 fire that killed astronauts Gus Grissom, Roger Chaffee, and Ed White — one of Armstrong’s closest friends — will leave you reeling. The anomaly that took place during Armstrong and fellow astronaut Dave Scott’s Gemini 8 mission where the spacecraft went into an uncontrolled spin is recreated in tense and disorienting detail. The audience endures the jolts, hears the heavy breathing, and feels the danger that Armstrong must have experienced
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“The technology is portrayed very well,” said Frank Hughes, a former NASA engineer who lead the training and simulator teams for Apollo and Gemini and was a technical consultant for the film. “I think people will find it exciting and impressing. It certainly shows how the life of a test pilot and astronaut is exciting and dangerous.”
Hughes said some of his input to the filmmakers was subtle, but helped for greater accuracy.
“The initial footage shows Neil’s X-15 flight, and when he got up to 140,000 feet, at first it looked like there are cumulus clouds up beside him,” Hughes said, “and I said, ‘No, no! You’re going to be looking down on the clouds at that height!’ ”
Another scene in Mission Control for the Gemini 8 mission initially showed a huge celebration when the Gemini capsule docked for the first time with the Agena booster. “I told them there was no way that anyone in 1966 was going to do chest bumping and high fives,” Hughes said. “They filmed it again and made the celebration more subtle.”