On July 20th 1969, the ‘Great Southern Land’ of Australia had just twelve and a half million inhabitants and was known more for its kangaroos then its space program. But at the moment Neil Armstrong planted the first human footstep on the moon, all that would change in an instant.
One Small Step – The Australian Story, produced exclusively for BBC Worldwide Channels by Freehand premieres on BBC Knowledge, Channel 619 on Monday July 20 at 7:30pm as part of Moon Week.
Presented by Australian journalist and author Peter FitzSimons, the 60 minute documentary explores the front-line role Australian radio astronomers and technicians played in the Apollo 11 moon landing and the uniquely Australian approach they brought to the task.
We meet the characters directly involved in bringing live pictures from the moon to the rest of the world and hear about the dramas of this most remarkable day. Their stories will be interwoven with snapshots of Australia from July 20th 1969 as we relive the day leading up to one of the most significant events in this country’s brief history. Myths will be debunked and real stories uncovered.
Australians saw clearer pictures “live from the moon” than anyone else on Earth – and became the first witnesses to this momentous footstep in history. This was no ordinary television signal. After travelling 384,000km, it would inspire Australians from all walks of life and bring a sense of future possibilities to the nation.
With Neil Armstrong’s “one small step”, Australia – would take a “giant step” onto the world stage. And just like the surface of the moon – would also cease to be a remote place largely unknown to the rest of the world.