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tv   Witness History  BBC News  December 27, 2019 3:30pm-4:01pm GMT

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for most of us, you will be doing well if you see any sunshine over the next few ways. the cloud is low, fog patches and the result as well. a brace of rain easing across scotla nd hello. a brace of rain easing across scotland for a time. but it lent this is bbc news. more wet weather moves in here, at the headlines... at least 12 people are killed the same time, it will stay murky after a plane crashes in kazakhstan. dozens of survivors, including children, are being treated in hospital. gci’oss the same time, it will stay murky across our curves and hills. fog patches across the pennines and everyone started screaming, southern england later on for stop kids are crying. temperatures eventually in the range and the lights were on in the plane, of8 temperatures eventually in the range of 8 hay 11 celsius. it may have but there was no, like, sound. stuck to saturday, again, another cloudy day coming up for most of us lady hale — who is about to ifa retire as the president cloudy day coming up for most of us if a few car brakes. across the of the uk supreme court — voices concern about the effect north—west of scotland, outbreaks of rain, rain halted her starting to of the reduction in resources on the justice system build up across the western isles in england and wales. and highland. otherwise, the odd free hospital parking spot of drizzle across western in england for some patients areas, fog and hill mist patches 00:00:57,136 --> 2147483051:37:14,110 around the top for most, cloudy and 2147483051:37:14,110 --> 4294966103:13:29,430 mild. and visitors from april — but questions are raised over how it will be funded.
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now on bbc news, it's witness history 7 a look back at one of the highlights of the series. razia iqbal has five stories from the history of space exploration to mark the 50th anniversary of the moon landing in july 1969. hello, and welcome to a special edition of witness history with me, razia iqbal. to mark the anniversary of the moon landings, i am here at the science museum in london to bring you five first person accounts of extraordinary moments in the exploration of space. coming up, we hearfrom the commander of the mission that took the most famous photograph ever of our planet, we get a moving account of the challenger space shuttle disaster, and we find out more about laika, the soviet dog who became the first
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living creature in space. but we begin injuly 1969, when the world stopped in its tracks to watch the americans put a man on the moon for the first time. a television audience in the hundreds of millions held its breath as neil armstrong clambered out of apollo 11 and took the first steps on the desolate lunar surface. gerry griffin was one of the nasa flight controllers. mission control was made up of a bunch of young people. i was 3a and i was one of the older guys in the room. i think we all felt that nobody has ever done this, so let's just do it. there was a routine from launch, i would say, to the point of going into lunar orbit. the final phases of the descent
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of apollo 11 were kind of fraught. we had two computer alarms saying that the computer was being overworked. they took a quick look to make sure all the guidance was correct. quickly gave them a go. so it was dicey, and then they started running short of fuel, and we were concerned. you heard, 60 seconds! neil armstrong said that. neil was a very, very good pilot. he could already see that the computer was taking him into a boulderfield, so he had to manoeuvre to try to find a smooth place.
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and the fuel gauge was heading down, and we were watching it. and it was nerve—racking. i never will forget when buzz aldrin said we were picking up dust, he did that a little less than 100 feet above the surface, and that is when i thought, "we will make it." when they first touched down, it was a great relief. i remember being proud — we did it! neil told me one time, "it's like an automobile, when it is on empty, there is a little bit left in the tank."
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neil went down the ladder, the television picture was pretty grainy, but we could basically tell what he was doing. i think everybody was just awestruck, and there was very little being said in that room. he first actually got down to the footpath, and he was standing there, i think he was collecting his thoughts, and i think he wanted to make sure that he was calm enough and not too excited, which he never was. then he took the one small step. i remember thinking, you knew he would come up with something profound.
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buzz came after him. when they planted the flag and talked to the president, i heard these two guys standing on the moon — wow, it worked! it kind of amazes me, 50 years later today, you realise what we did?! gerry griffin worked on all of nasa's manned apollo missions and eventually became director of the kennedy space center. the race to the moon was one of the battles in the cold war between the united states and the soviet union. it's hard to imagine now but the americans actually started off a long way behind moscow. in november 1957, soviet scientists shock the world by putting the first satellite into space, then just a few weeks later they put an animal into orbit. her name was laika, and she was trained by vladimir yazdovsky.
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we spoke to his son, victor. earth's first real space pioneer was a dog, a russian husky called laika. the russians put sputnik into orbit around the world with laika as a passenger. months of training, sometimes with a companion, prepared laika for her lonely journey. translation: she was a very patient dog, very affectionate. she was easy to train. she was considered very clever. she had very expressive dark eyes. and my father wanted to take her away from the official environment of the lab and put her home to run around with us and play. in 1957, i was nine, and my father was in charge of the soviet medical programme to send animals into space.
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i remember that very often a car would arrive from my father's lab. it would signal, beep beep! the door would open and a crowd of dogs would tumble out of it. they were full of life. they would run to us, start licking us. and then a command was given. they were well trained, they went back to the car and were driven back to the labs. all dogs that were launched into space had to weigh not more than six or seven kilograms. they were all stray dogs, they had stamina and were undemanding. they were naturally selected by their life on the streets. in order to study laika's blood pressure and monitor her pulse during the flight, my father pulled her main artery close to the surface of her skin.
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a transmitter was then attached to the artery, more transmitters were attached to her ribs and neck. laika's elliptical orbit varies from 100 to 1,000 miles above the earth's service. observatories listen carefully to the coded radio signals which tell the space scientists how she is on her lonelyjourney. without knowing it, laika is telling man whether in the years to come it will be safe for him to follow her. translation: it was the 40th anniversary of the revolution in 1957, and they needed to make a push before the festivities, and that is why not everything could be thought through in this flight population. khrushchev, the soviet communist party leader then, needed to show americans who was first. everyone was very concerned for laika. they knew she would not return from that journey. scientists then did not know how
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to return living creatures from orbit back to earth. after ten hours, she died because of the very high temperature in her capsule. the system of thermal insulation of her capsule had not been properly developed. in memory of this remarkable flight, special stamps and envelopes were produced with laika's image. there were also special cigarettes and matches in the ussr called laika. the monument was unveiled in moscow in 2008. laika's flight showed you can survive weightlessness, and the door was opened for man's travel into space. professor victor yazdovsky talking to us in russia.
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after their success with laika, the soviet union achieved more breakthroughs, including putting the first man into space, but in 1968 the americans took the lead in the space race with the most daring mission in the apollo programme. using new rocket technology, apollo 8 flew all the way to the moon for the first time. the astronauts also took the famous earthrise picture of earth as seen from space. frank borman was the apollo 8 commander. 7.5 million lbs of stress at liftoff. it still is the most profitable machine ever made by man. the noise was extremely loud. we had not been able to train for that, really. and it gets very hard to breathe. your eyes flatten out
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so you get tunnel vision. the apollo 8 mission was designed to fly 240,000 miles, all the way to moon, enter a lunar orbit, and then come home with a surface propulsion engine. the idea of deep space navigation and circumlu nar navigation and re—entering the atmosphere at 25,000 miles an hour, none of that had ever been done before. we were the trailblazers in that aspect. the moon, of course, is moving around the earth at 3000 miles an hour, and as i recall we were going at 2000 miles an hour ourselves, and we had come 240,000 miles, aiming for a point 69 miles in front of the moving moon. and i think we fired the spacecraft
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engine something like four minutes to slow down enough to get into lunar orbit. and then we looked down, and there was the moon. we were 69 miles above it, and for the first time we really saw it, and the lunar surface was terribly distressed with meteorites, holes, craters, and one of the things that struck me was there was absolutely no colour, it was either grey or black or white. on the fifth or sixth revolution, we looked up and there was the earth in the background, coming over the lunar surface. it was a scramble for the camera, and bill anders took the picture. the contrast between the distressed moon and the beautiful blue
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earth was remarkable. the earth was the only thing in the entire universe that had any colour. basically blue, you could see the white clouds, the brownish—pink continents, it was a beautiful sight, we are very fortunate to live on this planet. i don't think any of us had paid any attention to the fact that we would be going all the way to the moon and it would be more interesting to look at the earth. there was a sense of awe, on my part at least, that this universe is bigger than all of us. that earthrise photograph gave us all a sense that we live on a fragile planet, that we have limited resources, and we had better learn to take care of it. commander frank borman
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on a picture that changed the way we see the earth. remember, you can watch witness history every month on the bbc news channel. or you can catch up with all films, along with over 1000 radio programmes, in our archive. just search online for... we are turning now, though, to one of the darkest moments in the history of space exploration. in 1986, the space shuttle challenger exploded shortly after liftoff, killing all seven members of the crew. in a particularly tragic twist, one of the astronauts that died was christa mcauliffe, a schoolteacher who had won a public competition to be on the flight. we spoke to barbara morgan, who was christa's back—up astronaut. my husband and i were sitting on the sofa, watching the news, and president reagan came on and made the announcement, it was quite remarkable. today i am directing nasa to begin
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a search and to choose as the first citizen passenger in the history of our space programme one of america's finest, a teacher. i will always remember my husband, a writer, jumped up immediately and said, "why a teacher, why not a writer? !" and i laughed and said i thought a teacher would be the perfect choice. christa was chosen as our teacher in space, i was very, very lucky to be chosen as her back—up. christa was very much the girl next door, she had an effervescent smile, she was very intelligent and soaking it all in. we spent six months training at thejohnson space center with the challenger crew. some of our favourite training was in the simulators to learn what it is like to be weightless. we did not stop laughing the entire flight. launch day was the 28th of january. we had been at the kennedy space center for a few days, and the crew had been spending their time in crew
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quarters, going through all the last—minute work on preparations for the flight, and that morning was very cold. we, of course, had schoolchildren all over the country watching. 100 kids from christa's son's school, and all the families and friends. i remember i was so excited. i so wanted to be with them, i was waving and jumping up and down. i was so happy for them, and wanted to be there with them. we have main engine start. four, three, two, one, liftoff! liftoff of the 25th space shuttle mission, and it has cleared the tower. very soon into the launch, things did not look right. there was not one contrail going up. all of a sudden, there were a couple. and that did look different from the launch that
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christa and i had watched a few months earlier. and then at some point you realise that something has gone terribly wrong. the flight controller is here looking very carefully at the situation. obviously a major malfunction. we all went to crew quarters. we were waiting word and helping the families. it was a really tough situation. in september, i went back to the classroom and taught for many, many more years, and in 1998 nasa asked me to apply to the astronaut programme. at that point, i left teaching and went and served as an astronaut for ten years.
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one of the wonderful legacies of the challenger is the educational programme that the families of the challenger crew members got together and created, where young people for themselves experience the joy and wonder of space flight and space exploration. it's called the challenger center for space science education. that is why the challenger crew were going into space, they were going to explore and discover and experience for all of us and keep that future wide open for all of us. the former teacher and astronaut barbara morgan. of course, danger has been present throughout the history of space flight and in 1997 tragedy nearly struck again when a resupply vessel crashed into the mir space station. astronaut michael foale told us how he and two colleagues managed to contain the damage.
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mir was a space station built by the russians. the impression you got when you opened up the hatch and went into mir for the first time were twofold — one was the smell, a smell of an oily garage. maybe a bit of must because we did have mould on the mir. and then the other impression is clutter, and so as you go through, it is like going into the oesophagus of someone's throat. after six weeks of being on the station, i'd had been doing my experiments, i'm very happy, i got up on the 25th ofjune, and the flight engineer and flight commander had been using radio control equipment to fly a cargo ship called progress that weighs seven tonnes into the mir station using a tv looking at the station. as i look at his tv screen, i could see the orientation is all wrong for a proper docking
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to take place. and sasha, the flight engineer, said to me, "michael, scramble!" and he meant the soyuz spacecraft, which is joined on to the end of the station, at that point that was our lifeboat, but i understood because of the emergency in which he said it, he meant, "go there to save your life!" and as i float through, i feel the whole space station shudder and move around me. i am pretty sure this may be my last breath because i'm looking at the thin, three millimetre thick aluminium walls, waiting for them to part. klaxons go off when there is a pressure leak, then i felt my ears popping which meant in this case the air
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was leaving the space station and a whistling sound was coming from the spectre module. in 23 minutes, if we did nothing we would start to go unconscious. sasha comes to me, doesn't say a word, he feverishly starts trying to remove cables leading into the module, he looked around for a large hatch that could be put in place, and we put it on, and as it went on, it kind of sucked in. but then because the station had been hit by the progress, we were tumbling and rolling, and at that point it had no electric power, the batteries were giving out, there was no fan running, the carbon dioxide removal was not working, no oxygen regeneration, and no communications with moscow or anybody else, it was a totally dead station. this is not something you see in movies where it all gets solved instantly by some brainy chap. it probably took six hours. we used the soyuz spacecraft
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and fired the jets to stop the space station tumbling and rolling, and then wonderfully we came into sunlight after this, and all of a sudden the fans started to come on, the lights came on, and i said, "vasily, we've done it!" however, for the next month, the station was inoperable in any normal sense, it could just sustain our lives and nothing else. when finally the shuttle came in october, i was quite happy to see them. and as we backed away from the mir station, i looked at it and thought, "i don't really mind if i don't ever see that again." former astronaut michael foale. that's all from us here at the space gallery in the science museum in london.
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we will be back next month with more first—hand accounts from the past. but for now, from me and the rest of the team, goodbye. hello. you will be doing well to see much of any sunshine over the next few days. the satellite shows limited breaks in sussex but otherwise it is pretty much wall—to—wall cloud and it is not quite, it is low cloud that we have across not quite, it is low cloud that we have a cross western not quite, it is low cloud that we have across western areas so not quite, it is low cloud that we have across western areas so it is murky as well with some spots of drizzle and mist until fog patches around. the worse for northern ireland that western scotland and wales and the south—west. during
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this evening we will see rain pushing back into scotland and it will turn murky across the pennines and also the hills of southern england but we will see low cloud and mistand england but we will see low cloud and mist and fog patches around. tonight will be pretty mild with temperatures by the end of the night for most of the range of 8—11d which for most of the range of 8—11d which for many is warmer than it should be during the daytime. and that mild feeling continues around the western edge of this and into saturday, weather fronts across the north west. the far north—west of scotland the rainfall totals build up this weekend across the highlands and the western isles well and otherwise an odd bit of drizzle in the air from time to time across western areas and we will continue to see some hill fog patches around as well. for most, another cloudy day with temperatures 10—12d. for sunday, we draw up the airfrom temperatures 10—12d. for sunday, we draw up the air from even further south, from north africa, with the potential for south, from north africa, with the
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potentialfor high south, from north africa, with the potential for high temperatures for late december across the north and east of scotland in particular. we could see an occasional brighter speu could see an occasional brighter spell and there will be rain across the north west of scotland but otherwise another cloudy day with occasional brighter spells possible and look at these temperatures. potentially going as high as 15 degrees in north—east scotland. in aberdeen, it should only be 6 degrees at this time of year. 9 degrees at this time of year. 9 degrees above normal. beyond that, temperatures eased on three monday and tuesday but there should be a greater chance of at least a little bit of sunshine with temperatures across england and wales knocking around three or 4 degrees off as we head into monday and tuesday. the skies should be brighter with more sunshine poking through. in the run—up to new year celebrations it isa run—up to new year celebrations it is a mostly dry picture with some fog patches developing overnight.
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this is bbc news. the headlines at four: at least 12 people are killed, after a plane crashes in kazakhstan — dozens of survivors, including children, are being treated in hospital. everyone started screaming, kids are crying. and the lights were on in the plane, but there was no, like, sound. lady hale, who is about to retire as the president of the uk supreme court, voices concern about the effect of the reduction in resources on the justice system in england and wales. says she's concerned about the lack of resources for legal advice in england and wales. free hospital parking in england for some patients
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and visitors from april — but questions are raised over how it will be funded. 2019 saw the hottest month on record — in half an hour on bbc news, weather world looks back at some
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