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Countdown

Space does not wish you well. It has no shortage of ways to kill you, and in the fifty years humans have been flying spacecraft around the Earth and out to the moon, the mortal perils have been evident. But ten of the missions were the most harrowing of all. Some of them ended in tragedy, some ended successfully—but all of them involved astronauts playing for the very highest stakes in the very deadliest place. Countdown tells the tale of those ten missions—some of them American, some Russian. Written and narrated by Jeffrey Kluger—author of Apollo 13 and Apollo 8—Countdown recreates the space crises that every astronaut has feared, and that an unlucky handful were forced to live.

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Warning: This podcast is a series podcast

This means episodes are recommended to be heard in order from the very start. Here's the 10 best episodes of the series anyway though!

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S1E1: Apollo 10

There were a lot of mission rules in the official flight plan when Apollo 10 was preparing to leave Earth on its journey to the moon, but the most important one was: Whatever you do, don’t land there.TIME’s Jeffrey Kluger takes you through the Apollo 10 lunar orbit and the horrifying events that make it one of the most harrowing space missions of all time

24mins

20 Jul 2017

Rank #1

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S1E2: Gemini 8

Neil Armstrong didn’t believe in omens, but he got a nasty one anyway the moment he climbed into his Gemini 8 spacecraft on the morning of March 16, 1966. If Armstrong had believed in omens, he might have been better prepared for what the rest of the day held for him.TIME’s Jeffrey Kluger takes you through the Gemini 8 mission and the events that make it one of the most harrowing space missions of all time

22mins

27 Jul 2017

Rank #2

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S1E3: Apollo 1

Whether ship or mere simulator, the Apollo had so far impressed most people at NASA as a slapdash machine. It was temperamental, error-prone, and impossible to work with for more than a little while before something broke down. TIME’s Jeffrey Kluger takes you through the Apollo 1 mission and the events that make it one of the most harrowing space missions of all time

29mins

3 Aug 2017

Rank #3

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S1E4: Gus Grissom

Gus Grissom tried not to give much thought to the fact that the rocket he was riding to space was built to kill people. But the terrible V-2 would become the beautiful Redstone, and American Astronauts - manifestly the good guys - would ride them into space.TIME’s Jeffrey Kluger takes you through the Liberty Bell 7 mission and the events that make it one of the most harrowing space missions of all time.

27mins

10 Aug 2017

Rank #4

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S1E5: Gemini 9

If Gemini 9 started off under a curse, the bad fortune seemed determined to stick around.TIME’s Jeffrey Kluger takes you through the Gemini 9 mission and the events that make it one of the most harrowing space missions of all time

28mins

17 Aug 2017

Rank #5