This black & white series chronicles the U.S. government's attempts to put men into space. Unlike many "kid's shows" of the time, Men Into Space aimed for an adult audience. The science is relatively accurate, there are no fantastical elements (although aliens are hinted at several times), characters occasionally died, and the special effects are state-of-the art for the period.
William Lundigan plays Colonel Edward McCauley, the one and only main character in the series. A rock-steady family man, McCauley is either participating in or supervising every major mission in the series.
Somewhat forward-thinking for the time, Men Into Space predicted female astronauts, married couples on the moon, and cooperation between the U.S. and Russia in the exploration of space.
McCauley leads the first expedition to Phobos, the moon of Mars. Dr. Morrow, the lead scientist, insists on making his observations. When a fuel leak forces them to cut the mission short, Morrow disappears and McCauley has to find him before they are forced to depart.
Recaps1x37: Mystery Satellite recap
: McCauley is on the MR-37 en route to the Moon with Captain Don Miller and Major Tim O'Leary. Miller is working on a letter to his new bride when they pick up a blip on the radar. It's matching their course and speed, 14 miles away, but it's too small to be seen at that distance. O'Leary figures that it's a meteor but Miller points out that it appears to be pacing them. McCauley reports to Maj. General Albright at Earth Control, and asks for permission to close with it. Albright okays his request and they move in on the unidentified object... read more.1x36: The Sun Never Sets recap
: After returning to Earth from his current mission, McCauley meets with his superior. He's informed that he's being sent to London as planned before his mission on the Moon delayed him. The British are planning to use a Neptune first-stage engine as a second-stage engine. If successful, it will give their Vega Rocket the greatest payload of any spaceship in development... read more.1x35: Into the Sun recap
: McCauley sits in on a meeting where the government is meeting with Mayor Clark, a representative of American mayors. Clark is arguing for a better method of disposing of nuclear waste. General Adams assures him that it is a government concern as well, and explains that they have contracted Space Engineering Associates to do something new. They plan to shoot it into the Sun. McCauley is there as the Air Force head of project, and explains that they will load atomic waste into rockets and then fire them into an orbit causing them to fall into the Sun. Four capsules will be sent into Moon orbit, assembled, and then attached to a rocket. The rocket will then be fired by remote control, sent into the Sun. McCauley explains that the fuel in the rocket will act as a shield against radiation... read more.1x34: Flare Up recap
: On the Moon, McCauley and his team, Mel Rumbough and Lou Marlowe, are conducting mining operations when Captain Webb calls to tell them that they've picked up an unidentified object approaching on radar. McCauley tells Webb to keep him advised and goes back to work... read more.1x38: Flight to the Red Planet recap
: En route to the Mars, McCauley calls Major Vic Devery to the bridge for the start of his shift. They are 236 days away from Earth and approaching Mars. McCauley goes back to the bunk where Dr. Morrow is working on his notes. They're interrupted when Devery reports a meteorite impact. McCauley and Jim Nichols go forward and Devery tells them that there was a minor impact but no drop in pressure. The two men go outside while Devery asks Morrow why they are suffering increasing meteorite strikes. Morrow suggests that as a large object moves through space, it draws in smaller objects within its gravitational field. McCauley and Nichols seal the hole... read more.