Aleida Rosales is the daughter of Octavio Rosales. After her mother passed away, she and her father illegally crossed the border to live a new life in the United States. There, she grew interested in NASA and the space race, eventually working under the wing of Margo Madison. She got accepted into the Kennedy school but was hesitant on moving due to her interest in a boy named Anthony.
On June 26, 1969, while in Parras de la Fuentes (Mexico), her mother call her to watch as Alexei Leonov walks on the moon, and this event will shape Aleida's future.
Her mother, Graciana Rosales, passed away on June 30.
A few days later, her father Octavio Rosales moved illegally to Houston bringing Aleida with him. They crossed the border on July 20, just while Apollo 11 was landing.
Octavio is now working at NASA as a janitor. He leaves the building and goes home, where he greets the rest of his family. He asks for Aleida, and is told by a woman that a girl had almost burned her hand thanks to his daughter. She tells him to control his daughter or to find someplace else to live. He finds Aleida outside and tells her to not play with matches. When Aleida speaks in Spanish, he tells her to speak English, but she refuses. Octavio asks her to talk to him and offers his support, but she asks to be left alone.
At home, Aleida burnt a newspaper of von Braun after it became known he was a Nazi, which caught fire along with a doll, which she threw to a blanket which also rapidly caught flames. Her father walked in and put the fire out, and asked her why she did that. She argued that she could have put it out, and that it was fine, but Octavio mentioned it was not and asked her why she was obsessed with fire, to which she responded that she wanted to be in the fire. Octavio hugged her and told her he wanted to show her something, taking her to a model rocket at NASA.
After the female astronauts were officially announced, Octavio Rosales cleaned everything up, he found a paper and saved it, asking Aleida Rosales if she had seen the news. He gave her the paper he had picked up, which was Deke's speech given to the press. She hung it up on the wall and smiled.
Octavio handed Aleida a bus ticket, telling her to get off at Cape Kennedy where she would be following everybody else, since they were all going to the same place. Then she would to the bus station and use the second ticket in order to get back to Houston. Octavio apologizes for not having enough for two tickets, but Aleida assures him she would be fine. They hug, and she gets on the bus.
Sedge, Ed, and Molly got ready for takeoff, putting on their spacesuits. They were celebrated on their way to the Apollo 15, and Aleida made her way through a crowd gathered to watch the takeoff.
Years later, Aleida is holding hands with a boy, but they let go when Octavio approaches them.
Aleida apologized to Margo for arriving late a second time, but she had needed to run all the way to NASA. She asked Aleida about her necklace and her hickey. Margo told Aleida that she was looking forward to changing her life, but was not sure anymore since they needed to discuss Aleida's lies. She gives Aleida a letter from the Kennedy Math and Science Program, which she opened and found out she had been accepted for two advanced tracks. Margo told Aleida that that meant she would transfer to Kennedy school right after the first of the year, which was sooner than she expected and she had to leave all her friends, but Margo got angry since she was losing focus and she needed to work ten times harder than the men.
Aleida got home and got ready for dinner. She looked at her letter once again, but was excited when the boy she liked called.
Aleida walks in her house and finds her father with the Kennedy school papers. Octavio asks her why she did not tell him and she mentions that she was not sure that she wanted to go. However, her father found that ridiculous after all they had sacrificed and saw her as throwing it all away, realizing that it was probably because of the boy she was seeing, but she argued that she only wanted to stay with her friends. Octavio asked Aleida if she believed Margo had gotten to where she was by chasing boys and she reminded him that they were not in Mexico anymore and people liked to have fun sometimes, telling him that he did not understand America, so he grounded her.
Aleida is in bed, but is called by her dad, who tells her that he would be sent back to Mexico because if he was caught again, he would be sent to prison. He told her everything would be okay and hung up. Aleida left the house while Harry was mourned and Buzz Aldrin told reporters what was going on with 24.
It seemed Ellen and Deke were now heading towards the moon and were moving very fast. Ellen switched to manual, but depleted the SPS and they did not make it by thirty feet. However, in mission control Margo stumbled upon everybody celebrating since they now knew they were alive. Aleida went to NASA and saw Margo, who was still working.
Aleida sees Margo at her office. She tells the young girl that she had heard about her father and Aleida told her what had happened. Margo sat down next to her and told her it would be okay since Octavio was smart. Aleida told her how everything was going and told her that she did not want to live with the woman, but Margo told her that it would only be temporary. Aleida asked her if she could stay with her and would not be a bother. Margo told her that they could still do their sessions, but living with her was a lot to ask at the moment.
Aleida goes home, but stumbles upon a notice of seizure. Walking in the home she finds it is empty and trashed with even most of her photos removed. The phone rings and she talks to her father. She tells him what had happened and he tells her to grab as many things as she could and run. She tells him that she would not go to Mexico and lies, saying that Margo had told her she could live with her. Her dad is very happy and tells her that those are great news and tells her to be careful. She hears police and runs out of the apartment after grabbing some clothes and her acceptance letter.
Aleida walks into NASA and looks around, going into mission control, where she always used to sit as a kid. She starts jumping up and down in excitement and looks at her employee card feeling happy. She makes into the big room, and greets a colleague, who she tells she does not have a story. She tells him that she is not much of a talker, but is welcomed to Apollo-Soyuz anyway.
Aleida's boss tells their team that they needed to design a new docking system from scratch. Aleida complains that they have no Soyuz structural interface data, but her boss ignores her and tells the team that he wanted new proposals in the morning. Aleida asks him why he had ignored her, and he tells her that the problem she had asked about did not even correspond to her team, also adding that she should stay in her lane.
Margo and Sergei make it to NASA, discussing plans, only to find Aleida in the room. Margo was surprised, but introduced both of them. Margo asked what she was doing there, and Aleida mentioned that the universal docking system and needed some inspiration, so she figured it would be best to go to the source, which Sergei agreed with. Margo asked her if that was under her purview, but Aleida admitted that it was not. Sergei mentioned that engineers who liked to get their hands dirty were the best, and told Margo to keep her. Aleida thanked him, but Margo mentioned he was drunk. Margo showed the drawings, which Aleida described as beautiful; Margo agreed, but Aleida told her that it would not work since there was nothing to disperse the energy of contact and the hull could be ruptured if they were hit hard, which Margo agreed with. Aleida told them that they could place a ring and the three got to work.
The next day, Margo, and Aleida presented the docking system to Thomas, Ellen, Bradford and the Apollo-Soyuz team. Sergei talked to the Soviets and they agreed that it would work for them. Margo told Sergei that they would need to coordinate their approach while in space, and Sergei gave her the frequencies, with Margo returning the favor. Thomas told Ellen that the cat was out of the bag now, and Ellen agreed.
Margo hears Aleida struggling with the vending machine. She tells her to try negative pressure, which in the end works for her. She asks Aleida if she wanted something to wash her food down with since they had finally been able to reach their astronauts in Star City. Aleida thinks it is good and follows Margo.
In Margo's office, she pours them some brandy. She teaches Aleida how to hold the glass and the latter mentions it is strong, and points out that she never thought she had seen Margo that happy. Margo admits she is happy and adds that she can still be surprised by humanity at times. However, Aleida tells her to say that to Bill Strausser since he was the biggest jerk of all time. Margo tells her that he was harmless, but lacked social skills, calling him complicated but a good engineer and committed to his work. She tells her about an incident in which he had been at his console for 23 hours and refused to leave it, even urinating there which earned him the nickname Peanut. Margo tells her that if she could find a way to get along with Bill since even she did it, also reminding her that she would face many difficult people in her career.
Aleida talks to Bill, telling him that different teams should talk before having their preliminary designs, but he tells her that it was standard procedure. She tells him that as an engineer, what she was looking at was a bad design, but he mentions that the bad design was the one they had gone to the moon with when she was wearing diapers. She tells him that maybe he should have worn diapers during Gemini and he tells her to get out, which she does after calling him Peanut.
At her office, Margo tells Aleida that Bill Strausser had quit and she was the cause of it. Aleida says she had not done anything, but Margo reads that after their conversation, Bill had seen he did not have the respect of his colleagues. She asks what she had said to him and Aleida admits to calling him Peanut, which shocks Margo. She tells Aleida that Bill had worked at NASA for over 20 years and did not deserve to leave over something like that, adding that if Aleida did not convince him to come back, she would fire her. Aleida tells her that she does not owe her anything and tells her that if she wanted to fire her, she should do it. Margo realizes that when something gets rough for Aleida, she gets mad and left her job.
Aleida storms down the hall angrily and takes a deep breath. She goes to Bill's house, but he tries to shut the door. She convinces him to let her in and is surprised at all his models. She apologizes for what she had said, but he tells her that he had been dealing with that for nearly 20 years. He asks her if she knew what Gemini mission it was and he tells her that it had been during Gemini 8, which she understood nearly meant the death of two astronauts. He explains why he had not left his station, also telling her that they were uncommunicated with the astronauts during an hour. He complains that people still talk about how he had peed his pants.
Aleida reveals that she had been shot at with a shotgun with rock salt and bird shot. She tells him that during a time in her life, she did not know where to live, being homeless for a while. She reveals that she had no money and would scavenge behind restaurants for food, called a wetback by one particular owner. One day when she was getting food, the owner had a gun and shot her, which made her run and stop at a park when she realized that her shirt was full of blood. She tells him that at the hospital, they wanted to talk to the police, but since she was there illegally, she did not want to talk to them and just left. She reveals that she still has a bit of bird shot in there and has scars, so she does not wear tank tops or anything of the sort. She tells him that she has shame too and apologizes for making him feel his again. He hands her a beer and they watch jeopardy.
At mission control, Bill and Aleida supervise Apollo-Soyuz, when a man tells Flight that Jamestown was depressurizing, so he tried to contact them to no avail. Margo finds out, and Rossi comes in, saying that they had been having some issues with their sensors and pressure returns to normal.
Ellen tells Margo and Molly that they could not keep this up, but Margo does not want to give up since they were on the brink of war. She asks Ellen for one more orbit, and she gives Margo 90 minutes. Molly tells Bill that they had one more orbit before they called it quits, which Aleida protests since people had worked very hard. Molly asks Bill who Aleida is and mentions she likes her when she sees her attitude.
Aleida gets a snack and hears a radio sounding. She walks into a small room and hears Gordo communicating. She reveals herself and Gordo greets her. Aleida walks up to Margo and Molly and tells them about Gordo, so both of them rush with her.
Bill and Aleida tell Apollo how to get back down, but Danielle refuses and tells him they would proceed with the docking maneuver. Danielle tells him that she would not be going back down. When Margo tells her what her orders were, Danielle told her she was choosing to ignore her orders and told them to begin docking procedures lest they crash. Molly says that she does not care what Danielle had said since she had been given an order, which Makes Margo comment that maybe it was due to it being okay that she had not followed orders many times before. Before Molly could react, Ellen tells them that it was okay for them to proceed since at least one good thing should happen on that shitty day. Aleida does not believe it, but Bill lets her talk to the astronauts, which Margo encourages. Apollo begins approaching Soyuz and they ultimately dock.