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Press Release

May 30, 2014

Contact: Bill Moore
cell phone: 405-206-3012

"Oklahomans and Space" Documentary Series on OETA

OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla. -- The Oklahoma Historical Society announces the release of a new documentary series titled "Oklahomans and Space." This seven-part series will present the history of the space program through the stories of the Oklahomans who participated in it. Astronauts, engineers, scientists, reporters and others recall those wonderful days of adventure. NASA footage and photographs, along with recently discovered long-lost film, help tell this epic story. The series will cover Oklahomans' involvement both in the story of human space exploration and the exploration of all the planets through space probes created by scientists and engineers. 

Bill Moore, author of the book "Oklahomans and Space" published by the Oklahoma Historical Society in 2011, is also the producer of the documentary series. Moore has worked on this series for more than 14 years, beginning with an interview with the late Leroy Gordon Cooper in 2000. Moore retired from the Oklahoma Historical Society five years ago, but has continued work on this project to complete it through a grant provided by the Pauline Dwyer Macklanburg and Robert A. Macklanburg, Jr. Foundation.

Oklahoma astronauts interviewed for this series include: Leroy Gordon Cooper (now deceased), Thomas P. Stafford, Fred Haise, Owen Garriott, William Pogue (now deceased), Dr. Shannon Lucid and John Herrington. Numerous engineers and physicists, including John Aaron, Milt Heflin, Donna Shirley, B. C. Clark III and Mark Boyles, were interviewed as well. Even national NBC anchor Jim Hartz talks about those early days of space exploration and coverage by the media. 

Following are the individual program descriptions and when each episode will air on OETA:

  1. "How It All Started" (60 min.) 10 p.m., June 3 - OETA
    This program covers the days before the first satellite, Sputnik, to the Tulsa Peaceful Uses of Space Conference in May 1961, including discussions by US Senator Robert S. Kerr, NASA Administrator James Webb, Eisenhower Advisor Bryce Harlow, Kerr Press Secretary John Martin Meek, Senate Space Committee Clerk Carter Bradley, Tulsa's Harold Stuart and President John F. Kennedy.

  2. "Research and Development" (60 min.) 10 p.m., June 10 - OETA
    In the second program, Shawnee's Leroy Gordon Cooper discusses his Mercury and Gemini flights. Oklahoma engineers are hard at work developing America's spacecraft. As the space program begins to grow and pick up momentum, Oklahomans and Oklahoma businesses are doing their part to move the program along.

  3. "To The Moon" (60 min.) 10 p.m., June 17 - OETA
    Weatherford's Thomas P. Stafford discusses his Gemini 6 and 9 flights, as well as his Apollo 10 trip to the moon. Each of these missions are critical to the success of President Kennedy's challenge for America to land a man on the moon by the end of the 1960s. Gemini 6 must prove rendezvous in space is possible, Gemini 9 must show what we need to do to be successful in our extravehicular activities, and Apollo 10 must prepare the way for Apollo 11 and the first moon landing two months later.

  4. "Living and Working in Space" (60 min.) 10 p.m., July 1 - OETA
    University of Oklahoma graduate and Oklahoma Air National Guard pilot Fred Haise flew Apollo 13 as lunar module pilot. He discusses what happened during that famous mission, when the three astronauts were in a life and death struggle to return to Earth. Stuart Roosa from Claremore flew as command module pilot on the Apollo 14 moon landing mission. Oklahoma engineers who were involved with all of the moon flights discuss what it was like.

  5. "The First Space Station and D├ętente" (60 min.) 10 p.m., July 8 - OETA
    Skylab was America's first space station, hosting three different crews. Two of those crews had an Oklahoman on board. Owen Garriott from Enid flew on the second Skylab mission. William Pogue, born in Okemah, flew the final Skylab mission. The Apollo Soyuz Test Project, commanded by Thomas Stafford, paved the way for international flights of the future. Fred Haise blazed a trail for the space shuttle by commanding the landing tests of the Enterprise shuttle test vehicle.

  6. "The Shuttle and the ISS" (60 min.) 10 p.m., July 15 - OETA
    Owen Garriott flew STS-9 on the first mission of Spacelab, which was placed in the cargo bay of the shuttle. Shannon Lucid, who also flew on the shuttle, set records on her four missions and participated in the Russian Mir Space Station project through a US/Russian agreement. John Herrington, the first Native American in space, helped construct the ISS by adding the P-1 Truss built in Tulsa. The truss held solar panels on one side of the station.

  7. "To The Planets and Beyond" (90 min.) 10 p.m., July 22 - OETA
    Oklahomans have been involved with space probe programs exploring all of the planets in the solar system. The early exploration of Mercury and Venus began with Mariner 10. The Mars landers and orbiters of the past 40 years, beginning with Viking to today's Mars Global Surveyor, were all influenced one way or another by Oklahomans at JPL and NASA. The outer planets were explored by Voyager, Galileo and Cassini, each mission touched by an Oklahoman. Even now, Oklahomans at NASA are planning our future missions in space.

  8. EXTRA - "The Oklahoma Influence" (30 min.) - OETA
    This extra feature tells how Oklahoma influenced a lot of these astronauts, engineers, and scientists. The three air dates for it are June 17 at 7:30 p.m., June 26 at 7:30 p.m. and June 29 at 11:30 a.m.

The book "Oklahomans and Space" is available at the Oklahoma History Center Museum Store, located near the State Capitol Building, or online. The eight-disc DVD boxed set will be available in June at the same location.

(Images available on request)

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