An Air Force liaison officer escorts reporters in to document the historic event from next door to the control room. The experimental moon probe, XMP-13, is preparing for launch. The liaison officer asks the reporters to stick to the release schedule for press stories and assures them that there are hot lines to all the major press outlets. The reporters ask to see McCauley and the liaison officer says that they’ve allowed some time, but warn that they’re on a tight schedule...Read the full recap
The following special credit appears on-screen: We gratefully acknowledge the cooperation, technical assistance, research and facilities furnished by Department of Defense, United States Air Force, Air Research and Development Command, Office of the Surgeon General, School of Aviation Medicine. Space suits worn in outer space sequences provided by the United States Navy.
Reporter #3: Mrs. McCauley, may I ask you one question?
Mary McCauley: But I’ll answer it. As long as I’ve known my husband, he’s been reaching for the sky. And I like to think that this flight means going just a little higher.
Reporter #3: Will you attempt a landing on the Moon?
McCauley: No, no we don’t have the know-how. Yet.
Reporter #3: Colonel, are you scared?
McCauley: No comment.
Reporter #3: Well, then, why…?
McCauley: There’s a mountain somebody has to climb it. Mountains on the Moon just happen to be a few thousand miles higher. Let’s call it a way of life.
Reporter #3: Going to the Moon, a way of life?
McCauley: Let’s say science is a way of life.
Ground Controller: Control to XMP. You are drifting at 25,600 miles an hour. Seven degrees off planned trajectory.
Reporter #3: What does he mean, “drifting”?
Air Force Liaison Officer: You know what infinity means? Well, that’s exactly what he means. They can’t stop themselves.
Narrator: Destination, infinity. Was that to be the fate of the XMP-13? Speed 25,600 miles per hour. No power. No way to alter its course. Magnetic shoes will counteract weightlessness, but what repairs will counteract the malfunction?
Narrator: McCauley--a man lost in space. Helpless. Repeating his name, getting no answers. Not even knowing if he’s being heard. What goes on in the mind of such a man? How long will it be? Is it a matter of hours, miles, or is it an eternity?
Air Force Liaison Officer: But I can sum it all up for you. Missiles can be repaired in flight. Now, you’ve proved that beyond any doubt.
McCauley: Something else was proved, too, let’s not forget it. For one half hour, the entire world made one human life more important than anything else.