The Space Programme

Music from space – and a spe­cial doc­u­men­tary on the Apol­lo 11 mis­sion.

45 years ago this week, human beings first set foot upon the Moon – some­thing that, when you think about it, is quite remark­able: that in the days before even dig­i­tal watch­es, let alone pow­er­ful desk­top com­put­ers, such a mis­sion was pos­si­ble.

The Apol­lo 11 mis­sion was launched on July 16, 1969, car­ry­ing Com­man­der Neil Arm­strong, Com­mand Mod­ule Pilot Michael Collins and Lunar Mod­ule Pilot ‘Buzz’ Aldrin, Jr. On July 20, Arm­strong and Aldrin became the first humans to land on the Moon. Lat­er, they suc­cess­ful­ly returned – ful­fill­ing Pres­i­dent John F Kennedy’s 1961 speech which includ­ed the words,

…I believe that this nation should com­mit itself: to achiev­ing the goal, before this decade is out, of land­ing a man on the moon and return­ing him safe­ly to the Earth. No sin­gle space project in this peri­od will be more impres­sive to mankind, or more impor­tant for the long-range explo­ration of space; and none will be so dif­fi­cult, or expen­sive to accom­plish.”

Today’s pro­gramme com­mem­o­rates this momen­tous event. In addi­tion to an eclec­tic col­lec­tion of music from, and about, space, space trav­el, the Moon and more, we include Moon­walk! – a spe­cial radio doc­u­men­tary by Peter Car­bines* on the Apol­lo 11 mis­sion based on actu­al­i­ty, painstak­ing­ly record­ed from the broad­cast cov­er­age of the time, and woven into a sto­ry of the mis­sion with appro­pri­ate, and equal­ly eclec­tic, music of the peri­od, includ­ing as it does every­thing from the Moody Blues to the Bea­t­les, Pink Floyd, and  Holst. We rec­om­mend that you lis­ten on head­phones for the best expe­ri­ence.

Moon­walk! will be broad­cast at 11am and 7pm Pacif­ic Time (19:00 and 03:00 in the UK).

It can be argued that we would not have the envi­ron­men­tal con­scious­ness we have today were it not for our view of the Earth from space afford­ed ini­tial­ly by Apol­lo 8 and then by lat­er mis­sions. Arguably, space research is impor­tant not for what we get out of it direct­ly in terms of prod­ucts like Teflon, Vel­cro and man­u­fac­tur­ing abil­i­ty, or for some kind of nation­al­is­tic supe­ri­or­i­ty, but for the per­spec­tive and knowl­edge it gives us of our own plan­et and the Uni­verse around us. In addi­tion it is, per­haps, sim­ply some­thing we should do.

Today’s pro­gramme is pre­sent­ed by Elrik Mer­lin. If you are in the Unit­ed States or Cana­da, please click here to launch the Stream Licens­ing play­er. To lis­ten from out­side North Amer­i­ca, click here to start your play­er .

This pro­gramme is also avail­able in enhanced-qual­i­ty AAC. Tune in here: 

*Moon­walk! was cre­at­ed by Peter Car­bines for Pyra­me­dia Pro­duc­tions in 1971.

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