is a BBC docudrama
series first shown in Britain on BBC2
between September and October 2005, chronicling the major events and characters in the American/Soviet space race
up to the first landing of a man on the moon. It focuses on Sergei Korolev
, the Soviet chief rocket designer, and Wernher von Braun
, his American counterpart. The series was a joint effort between British, German, American and Russian production teams.
Episode one: Race For Rockets (1944–1949)
We see the results of Wernher von Braun's work on the V-2
for the Nazis
, and his final activities within Germany during the last years of the Second World War
, as both American and Soviet forces race to capture German rocket technology. When the Americans gain the upper hand by recovering von Braun and most of his senior staff, along with all their technical documents and much other materiel, we see Sergei Korolev's release from the Gulag
to act as the Soviets' rocketry expert alongside former colleague Valentin Glushko
, and how he is set to work bringing Soviet rocket technology up to date with that of von Braun, working with what material and personnel are left after von Braun's escape to the US.