Past the Pink Moon: Adjustments to NASA Historical past in ‘For All Mankind’

When the Soviet Union beats america to touchdown the primary human on the moon, it modifications the course of the house race within the new Apple TV+ sequence “For All Mankind.” However that’s not the one departure from NASA historical past because the present begins.

Cosmonaut Alexei Leonov’s surprising landing on June 26, 1969, simply weeks earlier than NASA’s Apollo 11 mission was scheduled to do the identical, serves because the catalyst for what follows within the Ronald D. Moore alternate historical past. However as revealed within the sequence’ first three episodes — which at the moment are out there to stream with the launch of Apple’s video service on Friday (Nov. 1) — the “Pink Moon” is met by a special NASA than the one that really landed the primary astronauts on the lunar floor 50 years in the past.

Spoiler warning: What follows reveals minor particulars from the opening episodes of “For All Mankind.”

In actual life, NASA’s astronaut corps numbered greater than 50 males, together with 4 of the unique Mercury 7, by June 1969.

In “For All Mankind,” it’s not clear how most of the real-life astronauts are a part of this system. Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins (as portrayed by Jeff Branson, Chris Agos and Ryan Kennedy) are nonetheless there to crew Apollo 11, Pete Conrad (Steven Pritchard) and Charlie Duke (Ben Begley) are referred to by identify and Deke Slayton (Chris Bauer) is a central determine, as he was in actuality, as director of flight crew operations.

From what is claimed, Gus Grissom, Ed White and Roger Chaffee are nonetheless tragically the victims of a fireplace on the launch pad whereas making ready for his or her Apollo 1 mission.

Among the many lacking, although, is Alan Shepard, America’s first astronaut in house. In actual life, Shepard had been grounded after his suborbital Mercury flight because of an internal ear dysfunction, however returned to flight standing in Could 1969.

“For All Mankind” leaves Shepard’s standing unclear.

“Glad Al Shepard will not be right here at this time,” says Slayton (Bauer) within the first episode, with no different indication whether it is non permanent or everlasting absence.

Different astronauts have been changed by fictional characters. The Apollo 10 crew is launched as Edward Baldwin and Gordo Stevens (Joel Kinnaman and Michael Dorman), as an alternative of Thomas Stafford and Eugene Cernan. (Apollo 10’s third crew member, supplanting John Younger, is barely seen by final identify on an altered mission patch — “Talmadge.”)

time of the Apollo missions, it was often known as Fort Terry’s The Common Joint.
Point out is made from two Soviet N-1 rocket check launches, one in January and the opposite in June 1969, the latter carrying Leonov to the moon. In actuality, there was just one launch as much as that date, on Feb. 21, 1969, that failed 70 seconds into flight. The following try, which failed at liftoff, happened on July 3. (The Soviets tried twice extra, with launches in June 1971 and November 1972, each of which led to failure.)
The Apollo 10 mission patch (referred to earlier) will not be the one insignia to vary previous to Leonov’s moonwalk. The NASA emblem, affectionately known as the “meatball,” is nearly the identical in “For All Mankind” as it’s in real-life, however its purple vector factors the other way. There isn’t any in-universe clarification for this variation. Based on Ronald D. Moore, it was finished by the manufacturing to keep away from needing the true NASA’s permission to be used.