Celebrating the 50th Anniversary of the Moon Landing on DStv

DStv explores the ambitions, the heart ache, the victory and the conspiracies surrounding the Moon Landing 50 years ago

In May of 1961, JFK famously told the world that the USA would "choose to go to the moon and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard, because that goal will serve to organize and measure the best of our energies and skills, because that challenge is one that we are willing to accept, one we are unwilling to postpone.”

He needed to do something spectacular to right the course of his presidency and beating Russia to the moon seemed to be the grandest of promises a man of that era could make. On the 21st of July 1969, they did just that and Neil Armstrong and Apollo 11 were forever etched in history. Sadly, JFK himself didn’t live to see man set foot on the moon as he was assassinated on the 22nd of November 1963.

Since Neil Armstrong infamously took man’s first step and mankind’s giant leap on the moon, movies have been made, theories have been flaunted and dreams have been dreamt. Only three nations have, officially, landed on the moon; the USA, China and Russia, of those, only the USA have actually sent humans, while the others have sent unmanned craft. People still dream JFK’s dream, on the 11th of April this year, Israel attempted to land a robotic spacecraft on the face of the moon but this crashed just as it was meant to touch-down, and Mission Control lost contact with the craft. The Israeli president promised; “if at first you don’t succeed, you try again.”

It’s truly the stuff that dreams are made of, but most people are amazed that the infamous “giant leap for mankind” happened only 50 years ago! It seems impossible to imagine that such a formidable feat was successfully undertaken without internet, satellite, AI, smart technology, and yet it was, with some of the most important calls made down copper-wired landlines.

Now, for space junkies, conspiracy theorists, lunar bugs, and those who believe that the sky is not the limit, DStv brings you a rocket ship full of moon-landing anniversary documentaries and films.

What’s On

BBC Earth

Earth from Space

Narrated by Oscar winning actor Chiwetel Ejiofor (12 Years a Slave, The Lion King) comes the latest production from the pioneering BBC Studios Natural History Unit In Earth From Space, cutting-edge technology tells the story of life on Earth from a brand-new perspective. Cameras in space capture natural spectacles on an epic scale. Marvel at the dancing neon Northern Lights and the zoom in on herds of elephants searching for water and discover previously unknown colonies of penguins. With the Earth's surface changing faster than ever before, can the view from space inspire us to look after our unique and fragile home?
Available on Catch Up and DStv Now

The Planets

This stunningly ambitious series brings to life the most memorable events in the history of the solar system, by using ground-breaking visual effects to tell the thrilling story of all eight planets. This gripping programme pieces together clues of magnificent lost waterfalls on Mars, the mass planetary migrations as they jostled for position early in their history, and even the distant fate of Saturn as one of its moons awakens to form a beautiful water world. Available on Catch Up and DStv Now

Goodbye Cassini – Hello Saturn

A billion miles from home, running low on fuel, and almost out of time. After 13 years traversing the Saturn system, the spacecraft Cassini is plunging to a fiery death, becoming part of the very planet it has been exploring. As it embarks on its final assignment - a one way trip into the heart of Saturn - Horizon celebrates the incredible achievements and discoveries of a mission that has changed the way we see the solar system. Strange new worlds with gigantic ice geysers, hidden underground oceans that could harbour life and a brand new moon coalescing in Saturn's magnificent rings. As the world says goodbye to the great explorer Cassini, Horizon will be there for with a ringside seat for its final moments. Available on Catch Up and DStv Now

Mars: A Travellers Guide

The dream of sending humans to Mars is closer than ever before. In fact, many scientists think that the first person to set foot on the Red Planet is alive today. But where should the first explorers visit when they get there? Horizon has gathered the world's leading experts on Mars and asked them where would they go if they got the chance - and what would they need to survive? Using incredible real images and data, Horizon brings these Martian landmarks to life - from vast plains to towering volcanoes, from deep valleys to hidden underground caverns. This film also shows where to land, where to live and even where to hunt for traces of extra-terrestrial life. This is the ultimate traveller's guide to Mars. Available on Catch Up and DStv Now

Jupiter Revealed

Jupiter is a behemoth of a planet. All our solar system’s planets, asteroids and comets would fit inside it. But we’ve known surprisingly little else about our greatest gas giant, until now. Five years after its launch, Nasa’s spacecraft Juno has entered Jupiter’s orbit and is making remarkable discoveries. This film follows Juno’s mission and finally uncovers some of the planet’s hidden secrets. Available on Catch Up and DStv Now

8 Days: To the Moon and Back

The second of two programmes marking the 50th anniversary of the Moon Landing. 8 days, 3 hours, 18 minutes, 35 seconds. That’s the total duration of the Apollo 11 moon mission. But we only saw a fraction of what happened. Using cutting-edge special effects and previously classified cockpit audio, this incredible programme recreates the crucial scenes that were never filmed. The first sight of the moon. The dramatic touchdown. The nail-biting journey home. Original archive footage is seamlessly blended with newly shot film to create a new view of history. This is the untold story of the most important space mission ever flown. It’s a giant leap for documentary storytelling. Available on Catch Up and DStv Now

Discovery Channel

Secret Space Escapes

What's it like to leave earth to explore the unknown? What does it feel like in space? What happens when you're in space and something goes terribly wrong? SECRET SPACE ESCAPES reveals terrifying accidents, fights for survival, and stories of close calls and near misses by the astronauts who survived them.

Recounting missions as recent as 2013, SECRET SPACE ESCAPES draws you into the emotional experience of space exploration. Through first-hand accounts by the astronauts who relied upon science, training, colleagues on earth and, most importantly, their wits, in order to survive launches, spacewalks, landings, collisions, outages and other dangerous situations that occurred during their missions. Available on Catch Up and DStv Now

Apollo: The Lost Tapes

Celebrate the 50th anniversary of humanity’s first landing on the Moon – the daring flight of Apollo 11. With gripping first-hand testimonies from eight surviving Apollo astronauts, including Apollo 11 Command Module pilot, Mike Collins, as well as those working in Houston’s Mission Control and at the Kennedy Space Centre, Florida. This two-hour documentary deftly weaves together eye-popping archive footage, sifted from thousands of forgotten films and remastered to shine new light on the greatest adventure in human history. Available on Catch Up and DStv Now

Space Dealers

The sky is the limit for the collectors on Space Dealers. Whether it's the pilot's seat from Gemini 12, an uneaten astronaut meal pack or the kit bag Buzz Aldrin took to the moon, if something's been to space it's worth BIG money. Every item they come across has a story – each one is a fascinating episode in the history of space exploration. And sometimes, there's a puzzle too: bits of space kit aren't always easy to identify.

These guys aren't just dealers, they're space detectives. Sometimes, to realize an item's true value, they have to find out where it was used, and how. They have to speak to people in the know – real space engineers and designers, and occasionally, the heroes who played a part in actual space missions. Available on Catch Up and DStv Now

National Geographic

Apollo: Missions to the Moon

The two-hour APOLLO: MISSIONS TO THE MOON on Monday 1 July at 21:00 CAT, is executive produced and directed by acclaimed Emmy and Peabody Award-winning filmmaker Tom Jennings (“Challenger Disaster: Lost Tapes,” “Diana: In Her Own Words”). The film weaves together more than 500 hours of footage, 800 hours of audio and 10,000 photos, using Jennings’ signature style of first-person storytelling to take viewers behind the scenes. This intimate, immersive account spans the full sweep of NASA’s Apollo Space Program — from the ill-fated Apollo 1 mission, which claimed the lives of three astronauts, to the final flight that brought the program to a close.

Exclusive interview with Tom Jennings, director of Apollo Missions to the Moon.

The Armstrong Tapes

A personal and in-depth look at the first man to set foot on the moon: Neil Armstrong. Although an icon, the man himself has remained a mystery.

Available on Catch Up and DStv Now

Apollo: Back to the Moon

With special effects, we retrace the whole Apollo space program set against the backdrop of the Cold War, from the disaster of Apollo 1 to the triumph of the Apollo 8 mission.

Available on Catch Up and DStv Now

Expedition Mars: Spirit and Opportunity

Synopsis - NASA lost contact with Spirit in 2011. Now, Opportunity has been out of touch with Earth since June of 2018. NASA says goodbye to the 2 intrepid explorers of the Red Planet. Available on Catch Up and DStv Now

Challenger Disaster: The Final Mission

Follows the story of Christa McAuliffe, the first private citizen to be launched into space - includes never before seen footage of how the Space Shuttle Challenger continues to impact the education system. Available on Catch Up and DStv Now

Explorer: Journey to Europa

Europa: an icy moon of Jupiter 485 million miles away from Earth - it may just be our best hope for finding alien life in our solar system. Available on Catch Up and DStv Now

History Channel

Chasing the Moon

A landmark documentary series about the space race, from its earliest beginnings to the monumental achievement of the first lunar landing in 1969. This exciting new series recasts the Space Age as a fascinating stew of scientific innovation, political calculation, media spectacle, visionary impulses and personal drama, utilizing a feast of previously overlooked and lost archival material. Available on Catch Up and DStv Now

Moon Landings: Lost Tapes

When Neil Armstrong’s boot touched lunar soil on July 20, 1969, it was our momentous, first foray into the universe around us. But the real truth of how we got to the moon, the inelegant, messy and often harrowing reality of regular people actually doing the thing that was thought to be impossible, hasn’t been told. For the 50th anniversary of man’s most audacious technological achievement, Moon Landing: The Lost Tapes will mine previously unexplored material: audio interviews with astronauts and engineers locked away in NASA’s vaults, camera reels featuring lunar footage thought to be lost for a generation, home movies that have gathered dust for decades. Working with producer Nicole Rittenmeyer, this immersive narrative will take viewers inside man’s voyage to the moon. Available on Catch Up and DStv Now


First Man

The words he spoke as he made his mark on the moon will live on in the history of mankind forever but what of the journey to that point? This epic film tells the story of Neil Armstrong, the man, beautifully and emotionally embodied by Ryan Gosling, as he wrestles with his ambition, the fact that he may lose his life and never fulfil it and the toll it takes on his family. In the words of Director Damien Chazelle (La La Land and Whiplash), “This is the messy reality of what it took”. It tracks the steps to the final landing, including the many failed missions and lives and friends lost along the way. The film leaves one with an in-depth understanding of the mammoth magnitude of this endeavour and all those that have and will follow. Available on Catch Up and DStv Now


Astronauts: The Toughest Job in the Universe

Follow 12 ordinary people as they undertake astronaut candidate evaluations to prove they’ve got what it takes to become an astronaut.

Fight For Space

Why should we go to space when there are so many problems to deal with here on Earth? But the race to the stars helps us much more than we know. Discover the past, present and future of space travel in this excellent documentary.