Space History News
space history and collectibles feature articles

discussion forums about space history and collecting

calendar of worldwide astronaut appearances

collecting guides and selected space history documents

related space memorabilia and history websites

Go / No Go :
"Apollo 10: The Dress Rehearsal" DVD

Review by Rick Houston

Studio:   Spacecraft Films
Release:   November 2004
Length:   More than 8 hours on 2 discs
MSRP:   $34.99
Extras:   Pre- and post-flight interviews; NASA management interviews

It's by far the least known of the voyages to the Moon.

Apollo 10 was not the first mission to cross the trans- lunar void, and a landing wasn't scheduled until the next flight. Apollo 10 was the ultimate test flight. Commander Thomas Stafford, lunar module pilot Eugene Cernan and command module pilot John Young sought and answered the remaining questions before a landing was possible.

Could the command-service and lunar module stack make the 240,000 mile trip mated together? Yes, it could.

How would the lunar module operate so far from home? Brilliantly, with one near-disastrous exception.

Was lunar orbit rendezvous possible? The crew of Apollo 10 proved that it most certainly was.

Thanks to Apollo 10, one more step - the last tentative step - was completed in the United States' march to the Moon. In an attempt to shed light on the little-known but none-the-less very important flight, Spacecraft Films has released Apollo 10: The Dress Rehearsal.

As with most of the Spacecraft Films catalog, the best parts of Rehearsal are those that show the CM and LM interiors. Unfortunately, many of the TV transmissions on Disc Two suffer from lighting problems. They are either too dark or too light, despite advice from Mission Control to the crew on how to correct the situation.

Still, there is something special about seeing Stafford and Cernan smile as they check out their LM, Snoopy. The crew tosses various items back and forth, and they also unveil posters of their spacecraft's namesakes, Peanuts characters Charlie Brown and Snoopy.

It is Snoopy that provided both the mission and the Spacecraft Films' release their biggest problems. While maneuvering just a few miles above the lunar surface, Snoopy tumbled wildly for the briefest of heart-stopping seconds. The 16mm footage is here, shot from Cernan's LMP window, but the encounter is not designated in the chapter stops provided on the DVD. You have to search for it, and know what you're looking for, because it's over within a matter of seconds.

Also, the air-to-ground transmission is not included with this particular portion of film. Rather, Cernan and Stafford describe the experience in a post-flight interview. The interview is great, with a lot of detail, but it would've been a plus to have a choice between the air-to-ground and the post-flight chat.

For those interested, the incident is included on Disc One, in Chapter 10 of the segment titled "Aboard X."

The Earth views featured in the 16mm films on Disc One are fascinating. The colors are rich and vibrant, and you can almost - almost - get the sense of what our heavenly sphere must have looked like from aboard Charlie Brown. During the TV transmissions on Disc Two however, there are what seems to be an inordinate number of Earth views. This time though, the pictures are lower definition.

The crew might have concentrated less on shots of our world. After all, once you've seen one Earth, you've seen them all.

Go/No Go: It's a go. Apollo 10: The Dress Rehearsal is not the strongest release from Spacecraft Films, yet, it is an important work that documents an important flight.

Order now: buySPACE | Amazon | Spacecraft Films

back to collectSPACE

© 1999-2014 All rights reserved.
Questions? E-mail
About the reviewer:
Rick Houston is an avid collector of DVDs (he has more than 600). Houston is also a space history enthusiast, so he is sure to not miss a documentary or docudrama.

Feedback: collectSPACE: Messages

'Go/No Go' Review Archive: