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Dr Kevin Fong will host 13 Minutes to the Moon, a 12-part BBC podcast series covering the Apollo programme through the final dramatic 13-minute descent of the Apollo 11 mission, when everything came close to going badly wrong.
This new series tells the story of the scientists, engineers, programmers and astronauts whose work during those tense minutes prevented failure. The theme music was written by Grammy and Academy Award-winner Hans Zimmer.
The final episode will be recorded live at Houston’s Rice University, where President John F. Kennedy made his speech in 1962, famously announcing his ambition to take humankind to the moon. It will be released on the exact 50th anniversary of the moon landing, 20 July 2019.
13 Minutes to the Moon is the full story of how a predominately young workforce was mobilised to make JFK’s vision a reality, despite having no idea at the start how to do it. The podcast has secured revealing, in-depth interviews with some of the key figures who made it happen.
Dr Kevin Fong say: ‘It was an incredible privilege to talk with some of the last surviving Apollo astronauts who flew to the Moon, among them the likes of Jim Lovell, Michael Collins and Charlie Duke. But just as revealing were the stories of lesser-know figures without whom the whole Apollo programme would have been impossible. Unravelling the question of precisely how this cast of thousands got us to the moon over the course of one short decade, and realising how very close we came to never making it, has been a thing of joy and fascination for me.’
The first episode of 13 Minutes to the Moon will be available for download on 13 May 2019, culminating in final episode on the 20 July, the anniversary of Apollo 11 mission. A new episode will be released once a week on Mondays. The podcast can be downloaded on all leading platforms.
Twenty six-minute episodes will also run on the BBC World Service radio from 15 May in weekly installments, and can be listened to online on BBC Sounds.
Photo credit: Anthony Cullen