Lying down in a tiny, metal capsule with a rocket behind their backs, they stared into the endless sky above them. With only their skills, intellect and less computing power than a modern cell phone, America’s first astronauts put their lives on the line. With each mission they stretched the reach of mankind’s finger tips ever closer to heaven.
Aside from bravery and the desire to push our known world further into space, there is one thing each phase of America’s space program had in common. From the first flight of the Mercury missions to the construction of today’s International Space Station, each step had the distinction of having an Oklahoma astronaut.
The July episode of Back in Time, which premieres at 7 p.m., Thursday, July 11, follows the footsteps of Oklahoma’s “Space Pioneers.”
Oklahomans have a pioneer spirit that has always pushed them to move forward into unknown territory. When Americans stepped into the new frontier of space, Oklahomans were at the forefront. Along with astronauts, back on Earth, it was engineers and mathematicians from Oklahoma that made it possible to send them to the Moon and get them back alive.
With new interviews from Gen. Tom Stafford of Weatherford and Commander John Herrington of Wetumka, along with archival footage, “Space Pioneers” tracks the trajectory of Oklahoma’s long and historic influence on space exploration.
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