A new Apple TV+ series premiering today explores what may have occurred had the Soviet Union landed the first human on the Moon 50 years ago. The series’ main focus follows a shift in priority for NASA away from the first human to landing the first woman on the surface of the Moon.
For All Mankind takes place in the late 1960s at the height of the Space Race. The United States and Russia had both launched crewed missions to Earth orbit and sent robotic probes to the Moon. The only milestone still to compete for was by far the most prestigious, safely landing a crewed mission on the lunar surface.
In reality, Apollo 11 astronaut Neil Armstrong took humankind’s first steps on the surface of the Moon on July 20, 1969. But what if he hadn’t? What if the Soviet Union had, like many times over the previous decade got there before the US?
In For All Mankind, the US is spurred on by the Soviet Union’s plans to include a woman in the crew of the country’s second mission to the Moon. This leads then-President Richard Nixon to demand NASA achieve the milestone before the Soviets. The only problem is, NASA doesn’t have any female astronauts. Work then begins to build the first class of female astronauts in the agency’s history to fulfill Nixon’s wishes.
The new Apple TV+ series was created by Rondal D. Moore who is best known for Battlestar Galactica and Star Trek: First Contact. Initial reactions from critics appear to be largely positive with an IMBb score of 8/10 and a Rotten Tomatoes critics score of 70%, with no audience score for the series currently available.