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4.7 out of 5 stars49
4.7 out of 5 stars
Format: Blu-ray|Change
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on 22 September 2009
This is the first DVD review I've submitted for Amazon and felt compelled to do so. The footage on this DVD is absolutely fascinating. From the opening moments I was glued to it. I'm in my mid 30s and have only recently become interested in space and the moon landings etc. I had a vague idea how the missions went (i.e. which were successful and which ended in tragedy) but even the ones where you know the outcome your heart is in your mouth. I've seen a fair amount of footage about the missions included here but most of this is new (even the stuff you've seen dozens of time before has new life breathed into it by the interviews with the key astronauts and Mission Control staff). The footage is truly breathtaking, each time I see the film of Ed White making the first space walk it's phenomenal.

Whilst the footage is amazing it's the interviews that really put the icing on an already flavour-filled cake. Virtually everyone comes across as really personable and humble, all seeming to acknowledge that whilst they may be the first to do XYZ it was a team effort with hundreds of people involved. I particularly warmed to Gene Krantz who was the Flight Director for many of the missions.

On a (very niggly) negative I was surprised the DVDs didn't include subtitles and would have preferred a plastic outer shell rather than the card based one. Also (and this is only a downside due to the immense quality of the earlier missions) the later Apollo missions do not have quite the same WOW factor as the ones up to and including the moon landing though when they start talking about the shuttle, hubble and the ISS this quickly picks up the pace.

I've based my 5 star review on the main films as I've not watched the bonus material yet but as the main feature is so strong I feel it fully deserves top marks. The bonus footage just adds to an incredible experience.

For under £15 all I can say is buy it. It'll be some of the most interesting TV you'll ever witness (shame I didn't see it in the 60s). Enjoy
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on 1 August 2009
This is a great Discovery Channel documentary series from 2008 on the American space program.

With a running time of almost 9 hours, you get loads of footage and information about the main NASA missions from the last 50 years. Each disc contains two, one-hour long episodes covering a different set of missions and developments and some bonus footage.

Original footage from the space program is interlaced with present-day interviews from Astronauts including: Glenn, Young, Carpenter, Borman, Armstrong, Aldrin, Collins, Cernan, Duke etc. In their absence, other Astronaut's achievements are discussed by their surviving colleagues and wives. Other key NASA personnel are also interviewed including legendary flight director Gene Kranz.

Aside from some understandably grainy archive footage of early mission control films, picture quality is very good and frequently excellent. For instance, the first spacewalk by Ed White which is astounding, or the first ever Gemini rendezvous which I'd never seen before.

I did read a critical review of the soundtrack and narration of the films, but I thought it was generally quite good. Narration is by American actor Gary Sinise and for the most part the orchestrated soundtrack helps the documentary move along building tension and drama.

It's worth considering this series if you're interested in the history of the space program and I found it vastly more entertaining than any recent release at the cinema; there are no actors or computer graphics in these films and the spaceships are real too...

Summary of Disc contents:
Disc One
Episode 1. Ordinary Supermen (the first seven)
Episode 2. Friends & Rivals (Mercury & Gemini missions)

Disc Two
Episode 3. Landing the Eagle (Apollo missions)
Episode 4. The Explorers (Apollo 13)

Disc Three
Episode 5. The Shuttle (development, testing, tragedies)
Episode 6. A Home in space (International Space Station & Hubble)

Disc Four Bonus Disc/Original NASA films.
Freedom 7
Friendship 7: John Glenn
Proud Conquest: Gemini 6 & 7
Apollo 8 Debrief
The Flight of Apollo 11

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on 18 May 2010
I own many documentaries about space. Some are good, and some are simply dreadful.

Since I always preferred the whole story of a mission, the nearest one would come to this goal, is to buy the relatively expensive "Spacecraft Collection" editions, issued in the United States, which include the full television, 16mm films and air to ground communication recordings of the time in which such missions took place. All, naturally digitalized and highly polished.

But for those who are not such "nuts" about space and just want a swift synopsis to what happened when and how, including witnesses and protagonists of such magnificent feats, this collection is one of the best on the Market these days.

Originally titled "When We Left Earth" and repackaged in the UK as "NASA's Greatest Missions" (go figure why?), this is the very same product with a different cover. It contains four DVDs individually packaged in slim cases.

Each DVD contains 2 different programs with NASA bonuses added to each of them.

I enjoyed them very much, even if I already know every missions by heart. They include the essential information needed to know about where NASA has been and where NASA will go.

It can easily be considered as a suitable "starter" for all those who either missed-out on previous missions (especially younger generations), or simply have forgotten how it all started and how difficult such missions have been and still are.

In any case, for a celebration, this is the right tool and I can only recommend it.

I still watch it as a compendium to other similar products...
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on 1 July 2009
The same as the Greatest Missions on Discovery Science on Sky TV except commentary is american not british. I use it at school, the hubble footage ties up with GCSE telescopes, and it's the fortieth anniversary this year so any excuse to show the moon landings. The footage is very good for silencing "The internet says the moon landing were fake sir" comments.
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on 23 July 2010
This is a brilliant six episode series documenting the exploration of space by NASA, portrayed entirely through archive film. They cover the Mercury, Gemini, Apollo, Skylab and Shuttle missions up to and including the first half of the IIS assembly.

The highlights of this DVD collection are not the Discovery Channel documentaries themselves (despite them being very well put together), but the original 1960s NASA films on disc four. Space nostalgia fans will be whooping for joy at their inclusion.

My only complaints about this collection is that the documentaries: 1. are entirely American focused, with little discussion of the parallel Russian missions. 2. have no subtitles at all, which was somewhat annoying when the background music began to drown out the narration.

I recommend that you watch this alongside the docu/drama series From the Earth to the Moon (Tom Hanks HBO Signature Edition) [DVD], and the film The Right Stuff (Special Edition) [DVD] [1984].
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on 11 August 2009
This set is very well produced, the colours are good and the images are sharp. Even the NASA films of Freedom 7, Friendship 7 have been improved, both colorwise and in sharpness, compared with other versions (e.g. "The American Space Odyssey" and "NASA - 50 years of Space Exploration").
Disc 1 covers the early years from X-15 to Gemini 9. The other discs cover the remaining Space Programme (up to Hubble) by focussing on specific missions in depth, rather than covering every mission. Two notable omissions are the Apollo/Soyuz and Skylab missions (though in the bonus clips is a "roller-coaster" interior tour of Skylab). An interesting inclusion is the coverage of the Gemini6/7 mission. Here, most of the footage is ground-based, including a well presented explanation of rendezvous procedures.
Numerous bonus clips on various topics are included
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on 9 July 2010
Holy crap! It's grainy, it raw, it's authentic. It's all the things editors leave out in polished pieces. And that's why it's good! No no, that's why it's great! It's all the background stuff one never gets to see, the pieces at the end of a roll of film, all tied neatly together into a good storyline. I got it yesterday, and just popped the first disc into the ol' DVD drive 30 minutes ago, and well, you know how I feel about it. Buy it.
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on 21 April 2009
What you see is what you get with this set. I ordered this set as I wanted a nice set of DVDs covering NASAs biggest highs and lows, and that is exactly what you get with this set, at a great value price.
I like the packaging, featuring individual slimline DVD cases within a cardboard outer, it sits nicely within the others sets and being slimline doesn't hog too much shelfspace!
The set covers the from the first in space, to orbits, the space race, men on the moon, Apollo 13, the Shuttle Era (including the low points of the disaster), Hubble and Skylab. The four disc set covers a lot, probably not as in depth as others but well enough for most-which also keeps it interesting and moving along fast. Interviews with Astronauts throughout with their viewpoints and feelings are a great feature as well.
Highly recommended for anyone wishing to have a good set of historic moments in space flight and America's space program.
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on 9 July 2009
Very interesting and informative. I grew up in the Apollo era and this collection contains footage I had never before seen such as the training given to the astronauts. Don't expect all the footage to be of HD quality or you may be disappointed. The early stuff is very grainy but watchable. The more up to date parts are impressive.
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on 16 December 2009
great set of documentaries, but looking at the listing i realised that i have the exact same set under another name in region 1, In the USA it was called "When we left the earth" - so if you see that title anywhere it is the same set as this.
As a set though it is fantastic, lots of rare film, new interviews and well researched and narrated by Gary Sinise.
If you can't afford the exhaustive Spacecraft films sets (available here and elsewhere), or even if you have those, this is a brilliant introduction to the US space program and at the prices offered here is an absolute bargain.
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