Originally aired on: NBC
NBC News special correspondent Tom Brokaw chronicles the Cold War space race that took place during the 1950s, 60s and 70s between the United States and the Soviet Union in a special, “Space Race,” that originally aired during NBC’s Sochi Olympics coverage.
The special examines the most memorable moments of the space race, including Sputnik; Alexei Leonov’s first-ever spacewalk; the Apollo 11 moon landing; and the joint U.S.-Soviet “Apollo-Soyuz” mission in 1975 that, according to astronaut Tom Stafford, ended the race.
Brokaw and NBC Olympics’ production team interviewed former U.S. astronauts John Glenn, Jim Lovell, and Stafford; former Soviet cosmonaut Leonov; and Natalya Koroleva, the daughter of Sergei Korolev, the man behind the Soviet space program.
The program also recounts the story of Stafford and Leonov, who maintain the most unlikely of friendships. The two men were enemy fighter pilots on the opposite side of the Berlin Wall, traveled into space for their respective countries, and then built a profound friendship through the journey they took together for the “Apollo-Soyuz” mission, which culminated with their shaking hands in space, 144 miles above Earth.