Edward "Ed" Baldwin is a character featured on For All Mankind. He is one of NASA's top astronauts. Baldwin was Commander of Apollo 10 which was intended as a test run for Apollo 11, being 8-miles away from the Moon. When the Soviets landed on the moon first, Baldwin and Gordo Stevens began facing criticism for not doing so. In an interview to Newsweek, Baldwin said "The NASA doesn't have guts anymore".
Baldwin was supposed to command Apollo 15 too, but for this interview he was removed from the mission and assigned to the Apollo Applications project. Later because of a political problem with Von Braun he was asked to testify in front of a committee. His testimony allowed Deke Slayton return him to command of Apollo 15. During the training for the mission Gordo Stevens was replaced by Molly Cobb which displeased him.
Shane Baldwin is called by his mom in order to go to school. He says goodbye to his parents and leaves. After this, Edward Baldwin is asked by his wife what would happen since the USA was not the first country to land on the moon, and he says that there would be a meeting in order to discuss it, and leaves for work.
At the meeting, Deke Slayton mentions Apollo 11 is scheduled to fly in 2.5 weeks, and Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin, and Michael Collins would continue to train as had been planned. He also said training for Apollo's 12 - 20 would also continue, as there had been no instructions from the top. However, Deke told them that the training would not be continued that day, since it was time to be pissed about the events, suggesting they take the weekend off to get drunk and blow off steam.
The men raced to Outpost Tavern, declaring the last one to get there would buy the drinks. At the tavern, they sang and played darts while nailing a newspaper to the target. The men all called Pam Horton to throw a beer at the newspaper, and they all followed.
A man walks into Outpost, and asks the crew of Apollo 10 what they thought about the event, but they said they did not want to talk about it. The man tries to get them talking by telling them what happened to them must sting. They mention it wasn't true that the spacecraft was too heavy and had too little fuel, but it was not on their mission plan. The man stays with Ed, and wonders why NASA didn't have the guts to let him land, and he starts remembering his mission. He concludes NASA does not have guts anymore since the Apollo 1 fire. What Ed does not agree with is changing the culture of test flights just because men died since they all know the risk they are taking when they take test flights.
At Deke's office, the former is reading Ed what he had said about NASA not having guts anymore. Deke tells him von Braun wants him reassigned to the Apollo Applications Project effective immediately, telling him he was to blame for being taken off Apollo 15, even mentioning that von Braun wanted him off the project completely. Deke tells him Apollo 15 may not even happen since everything everything would probably be cancelled after Apollo 11.
Ed tells the news to his wife, who asks him if he would be sitting behind a desk, which he denies. She concludes he would then be returning to the navy and asks him where they would be moving. However, Ed doubts they would have an open slot on the flight test for him, which meant he would ask for carrier duty which meant he would be sent back to the Seventh Fleet, which means they would be in Oahu. Ed is not glad with the way the conversation is turning out, but Karen tells him there was a code, and can not believe all it took for him to say what he did about NASA were a few drinks and he would start saying everything to reporters. Later, as Ed sleeps on the couch, he wakes up and goes to his bed, where his wife invites him.
The next day he walks into a packed office where he is greeted by silence. Afterwards, he apologizes for what he did and confirms his trust in Neil, Buzz, and Michael who would all be going to the moon soon. Deke walks in and reminds them only two weeks were left until the launch.
As Apollo 11 took off, Aleida, along with her father went to the Mexico - USA border. Karen and Shane went to a dinner party while Ed was at Outpost. A friend of his asks him what he would have said if he had been the first to land on the moon, and Ed mentions he never thought about it. Gordo says that the moon landing could have brought people hope since there was a lot of hate in the world. When asked what he would have said, he mentions "I'm Gordo Stevens and I come in peace. Three times a night," which makes Ed and Pam laugh.
When Neil Armstrong was finally able to contact NASA again, Ed celebrated with Gordo and Pam.
Later, Ed wakes up and goes to work, meeting up with Deke Slayton whom he asks when he can fly again. However Deke tells him the decision is not only his since he had pissed off a lot of people. Realizing what he was saying, Ed realizes he will never go back to space, and Deke confirms that would be the case as long as von Braun was director. He later loses his temper at his office and punches a hole in the wall.
At Outpost Tavern, Ed talks to a man who talks about the moon landing performed by Neil. He asks Ed when he is going back up, and Ed mentions it is unclear, so he had thought of rejoining the navy. The man does not believe he would want to do that since pilots become astronauts, not vice versa. Ed argues he has been doing nothing but desk work since the article, but the man tells him he is also one of the best aviators and the navy would be lucky to get him back, since they were close to winning Vietnam. He would also probably be commanding an entire air wing.
When he gets home, as they fold clothes, Karen Baldwin tells him she can not handle him going back to the navy and getting calls that his plane had been shot down. She mentioned she was under stress whenever the phone rang.
At the barbecue, Ed is called by Neil. Joking, Ed asked if they made him go through customs when he returned from the moon. Ed congratulated him on his landing, and Neil confesses he can not believe he did not abort the landing. Asking why he had gone through with it, Neil talks about the risk taking that is involved in taking calls while flying.
Later, Thomas presents Ed to congressman Charles Sandman, who is looking into NASA and is a big fan of his due to his work on Apollo 10. Sandman asks him to talk to the committee and see what he has to say about everything. However, when Thomas nods at him, Ed apologizes and mentions he has done enough damage. Thomas tells Ed that the president is not happy either about everything that is going on, and Sandman tells him to go to DC and tell his colleagues exactly what he had told the reporter at the tavern about von Braun being too cautious and costing them the moon. However, Ed mentions that although he and von Braun didn't always see eye to eye, he still respected him since he built the Saturn V. They tell him that he has the president's support, and have him think about it.
After some time, Ed goes to DC with Karen. In front of congress, Ed tells them that Apollo 10 and Apollo 11 had similar fuel levels. However, there was a worry concerning whether or not they would have enough thrust to back into lunar orbit, but he also mentioned taking risks was part of being a test pilot and during planning he had pushed for a moon landing with Apollo 10, but was overruled by von Braun. When the congressman asked him if he would have been the first man on the moon had it not been for von Braun, Ed mentioned it was not that simple since von Braun had made the call on the ground, but in lunar orbit he had known he could bring Apollo 10 down safely into the moon and after the launch, it was his ship to command and asked for everyone to blame him for losing the moon, non von Braun or Neil.
At Outpost, Gordo storms in angry because Ed did not say anything to him about landing Apollo 10, since it was not only his decision and he had not ask him what he had thought. Ed told Gordo everything was a joke to him, but he owned what he did and told him he resigned from NASA and would go back to the navy. Gordo could not believe it and asked Pam for two whiskeys.
Deke payed Ed a visit at his home, where he asked the latter how he was. He also mentioned Nixon was all hands on deck for the military base. He also gave Ed a plaque which recorded the landing of the moon. Deke mentioned presidents come and go, but NASA stays, and told him what he had said in DC took a lot of guts. He offered him his job back on Apollo 15, which made Ed excited and he accepted.
Karen interrupted the men, telling them the Soviets were now on the moon again, revealing that a woman, Anastasia Belikova had now landed on the moon, which now qualified as a historic moment for women across the world, since she was the first woman on the moon.
Training women to be astronauts
The Baldwin family watched television when they found out Tracy was recruited for NASA's female astronaut problem. Karen Baldwin thought it was ridiculous, but Ed mentioned he had heard a rumor that Deke had threatened to resign. However, Ed mentioned Tracy flying was none of his concern only to be told by Karen that these women were simply going to waltz in and go to space, ignoring all the training men like Ed did.
During a jet flying test, Ed helped the women, such as Tracy who she instructed on how to land. In the end, Tracy landed the jet smoothly, which Deke liked.
At a meeting in NASA, the possibility of ice being on the moon was discussed. However, this could not be confirmed. Ed mentioned they could find more about it on Apollo 15. Gene mentioned water on the moon could change everything, with Ray emphasizing that they could drink it, grow plants, and make rocket fuel. At the end of the meeting, Thomas asked Deke how "Nixon's women" were doing, specifically Tracy. Deke told him that the women were doing desert survival training, which surprised Thomas. He told Deke there was no way they could haul a 40-pound pack 20 miles in the desert sun, but Deke argued that if they could not handle the desert, they could not handle the moon.
On day 200 of the program, Ed introduced the five remaining candidates to the LEM simulator, which would emulate the flight dynamics of the lunar module spacecraft. He told them it was sort of like a helicopter, with a few distinctions. He told them that the activity for that day would be to perform basic takeoff and landing maneuvers with each of them flying an altitude of 300 feet, hover 30 seconds, execute a 360 clockwise spin, hover for another 30 seconds, and land on a target.
Tracy's turn was first, so she got in, and started flying, while Gordo drove his car. As he drove, he saw a fire at NASA and drove back only to see firefighters swarming the area. Ed intercepted him, and told him she was fine. Tracy saw Gordo and hugged him, telling him that Patty had crashed.
Working on Apollo 15
Edward Baldwin is on a phone call with Patty's father, who is angry at what happened, but Ed only mentions he was Patty's instructor on the day of the accident before Doyle hung up on him. Angered, Ed breaks his phone, and apologizes to Karen, who told him not to worry about it. She also told Ed the accident was not his fault, as Patty knew the risks involved in flying.
Gene Kranz gives a conference to Ed, Gordo, Margo, Thomas, Deke, and others, saying that a man had been buried on the moon, which the Russians were keeping quiet. It seems they were trying to land near water. Looking at some cylinders, Gene says they might be pressurized modules, which makes Ed realize the Russians were ahead of them once again. However, Deke mentions they do not even have a site, which angers Thomas, telling him to "just pick one." Margo tells him that the base have been predicated on proximity to water ice, and they had yet to identify where they could find water ice. She was interrupted by Thomas, who did not know who she was, soon realizing she was "Wernher's girl." Gene corrected him, telling Thomas Margo was a flight dynamics officer and was making a good point. Thomas was angered by how they were always losing to the Russians, and reminded them the election was coming up, which would probably be against Ted Kennedy.
Ed tries teaching Shane to ride a bike, but he keeps falling. Shane apologizes, but Ed tells him he does not want to hear it, and simply wants him to ride the bike while following his instructions. However, Deke arrives at his house, and they discuss a change in his crew. Deke tells him that Gordo is out, since the crew member replacing Gordo would be one of the female astronauts. Karen gets involved and tells him he was making a mistake all for a publicity stunt, but Deke argued they had all earned their place in the program. He told Ed he can get drunk with Gordo, and watch it on TV or go on Apollo 15. He told Ed to have dinner with his new crewmate, Molly, along with Sedge so they would get to know each other.
At dinner, Ed told Molly that there would be a lot of expectations on her, but that she should not worry about it. Ed told her it would be her first time in space, but she pointed out it would be Sedge's first time as well. Ed told her that Ed used to fly Phantoms in Vietnam, and had been flying jets ever since the Air Force Academy. Getting to the point, Ed tells Molly that both he and Sedge have a lot of experience, so if she followed their lead, she would have nothing to worry about. Molly tells him she is not worried and tells them she had been flying longer than both of them, mentioning she had gotten into Mercury 13 before Ed got into Gemini.
At home, Ed told Karen how he offered to help Molly, but mentioned all she gave him was attitude as if she had already been in space. Karen told Ed that she did not how he had agreed to it, but Ed simply replied that she was on his crew and he had to make it work.
110 days before the Apollo 15 launch, Ed, Molly, and Sedge got their picture taken with their spacesuits on. However, they did not smile for the photo. Shorty asked for one with Molly alone, and tried to get her hair fixed, much to her annoyance. Shorty then told her that Americans want to see a free woman on the moon, not some Soviet puppet, and told her she should smile more. He asked her to smile, but after seeing her smile, he regretted it, and told her not to.
During training, Molly was hitting a rock, which Ed told her she needed to use her full arm with. When she dropped her hammer, Ed also told her she could not just pick it up, since if she bent in her suit, she could not get further than 20 inches off the ground. He told her to focus on sample bags, which Molly did not like.
On a rocket simulator, Molly got into her spacesuit, while Ed helped her. She celebrated not having to wear a bra in space since there would be no gravity, but Sedge asked her to please wear it on behalf of their marriages. Engineers started talking, and Sedge asked what was going on. The engineers told him that the release tube in spacesuits was made for man parts, which Molly would not be able to use lest she made a mess of herself. Molly told them that would not work, since the trip was a week long. The engineers suggested a diaper, but Ed was against that, and told them that nobody in his crew would be wearing a diaper.
Later, they both got on a rover in which Ed explained that once she figured out how to use it, they would move onto the 1/6th G-rig which would better simulate its movements on the moon. He told her to just keep her eyes on the road, to which she responded that she had learned that in driver's ed. Ed clarified, telling her she was a pilot, and all pilots had tendencies, like Gordo, to look at an instrument panel, then checks his surroundings like he is in a plane. Ed also mentions that even at 8 kilometers an hour, accidents can happen quickly and the moon's terrain would be very irregular.
At another training routine, 18 days before the launch, Margo tells Molly that she went into the final trim 30 seconds late. She tells the other engineers that Molly still does not know the standard procedures. They asked both Ed and Molly to repeat, and Molly complained that Margo was a "pain in [her] ass." Molly told Ed that all she was doing was adjusting the locking harness out of the way, but she was ready. Molly started humming, and Margo asked her to focus; Cobb started entering numbers, but got a mistake, which Ed dryly confirmed was wrong. After that, Ed asked to have more under his control, which an engineer said was too late to be doing. Molly told him she had it under control, but he was firm. Margo asked Ed if he remembered why they had laid it out that way to start with, but Ed reminded her he was the commander of the mission.
Some time before the day of the takeoff, Gordo greeted Ed, telling him he would be going to Ellington. He apologized to Gordo for having not talked to him sooner, but Gordo told him it was okay. Gordo asked him how Karen felt about him spending a week in a little capsule with another woman, and Ed told him that his wife would be happier if his friend had been going with him instead and he would too. They shook hands, and said goodbye.
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.
The three were strapped in, and Sedge mentioned that the send-off was big. Molly mentioned they were celebrating for nothing, since she had not done anything yet, but Ed countered by saying that she had strapped herself on top of a quarter million tons of high explosive for government pay, which was something. His joke made them all laugh. Moments later, the launch began, and was successful.
Apollo 15 reaches the moon after 4 days, 3 hours, and 46 minutes, while Deke Slayton and Margo Madison work at mission control. Molly Cobb is told she is live on all networks. Shane asks Karen why everything is about her, and Karen tells him that she is the first woman astronaut, but Shane reminds him that Ed is her boss.
When asked what she thought about being near the moon, Molly mentions it is humbling and Deke reads a letter from a fan to her. After they were off air, the Apollo 15 crew was told that ice had been located on the moon, but the data would be used for later missions, since the ice was nowhere near their landing site at Mare Frigoris. Ed told them to land them at Shackleton Crater, but Gene Kranz refused since it was too big a risk, and they did not have the gear for that kind of exploration.
Ed turned off their comms, and Molly reminded him that he always told them to stick to the mission, and Ed told her the mission was to find ice. Asking Frank Sedgewick for his opinion, Sedge mentioned he was on-board.
Thomas called Deke and Gene and told them the CIA was worried that the Soviets would place military assets on the moon, and told them that if they could get Apollo 15 to Shackleton, they should do it. Deke told Thomas that the crew would decide and left.
Molly argued that landing at Shackleton would be half-baked and last minute, which Ed compared to her training. The men told her it was important because if they did not do it, then the mission would just be a publicity stunt. Mission control told them that it was up to them, and they eventually decided to go for it.
Ed mentioned that the altitude at which they were, was as low as he had gotten during Apollo 10, and Molly told him to stick with her. They neared Shackleton, which was dark, but it was time for them to find a landing spot. They found a good spot, and were able to land successfully on the moon's surface. Molly mentioned she had never wanted a cigarette more, and Ed told her she had come a long way as mission control, Karen, and Wayne celebrated their landing.
On the moon's surface, Molly got her picture taken by Ed after they planted the moon, and was later told the president wanted to speak to her, which she could not believe. Nixon told her he was very proud of what she had done for the country and for women everywhere, and wished her a safe journey home. The next day, Ed and Molly broadcast to mission control live, and drove a dover on the moon's surface.
On the moon, Molly thanks Ed for vouching for her not to have a diaper as they clean their spacesuits. They get ready to go to bed, and Ed lets mission control know. He talks to Shane, who he tells he did something special for that day. He tells Shane he wrote his name on the moon’s surface, which would now remain there for many years.
Molly tells Ed what he did for his kid had been great, and Ed tells her that it was bullshit, since he was good for gestures, but on everyday things he was not so great. Molly told him that she never had a kid since it seemed like a lot of work. Ed told her she was not a good father, since he could not teach Shane how to ride a bike, which was different from teaching Molly. He told her about how he left Shane alone when Deke had come around, which led Molly to call him a selfish prick, which she also called herself due to her ignoring Wayne being afraid of her going to the moon. Ed told him Karen had been going through the same, but Molly concluded it was necessary to move the ball forward for mankind.
Molly and Ed looked down and said it was very steep, meaning they could go down, but they did not know if they would be able to go back up. They thought of using the rover in order to make a winch out of it. Ed told Molly to always keep both hands on the rope in case anything happened, but Molly mentioned she weighed half as much as he did, and asked him to trust her.
Molly was in place for descent, and started going down, now out of Ed’s sight and inside the crater. Her transmission was cutting out, but managed to tell Ed she would be slowing down, as she was now heading into the dark. She turned on a light and told Ed to go lower. She started hitting when she was thirty meters from the baseline, but did not land a good blow. Ed asked her if she was okay and she told them she needed to adjust, but had just found bedrock. She went down another 20 feet. However, in mission control they mentioned Molly’s oxygen consumption was greater than expected and would only be able to keep that rhythm up for another two minutes.
They reached the end of the line, but Molly was only able to find basalt. Mission control told her her oxygen consumption was too high, so she needed to head back up. She refused, but Ed told her he would be bringing her back up. Ed warned her not to make him drag her up, and mission control started getting worried. Molly was able to hit a rock and told Houston to look at what she had got, which appeared to be ice; also showing them a lot more where it had come from.
Deke old Ed to bring Molly up, which he did, and they managed to safely return to the LEM. When they were inside, the public was told, and Karen hugged Wayne, who was relieved they were fine.
On the LEM, Ed felt relieved to be able to breathe, and Molly told mission control that they did not know how lucky they were. Mission control told them that they did, since even Margo was smiling, which Cobb asked someone to take a picture of. They were instructed to rehydrate and breathe for fifteen minutes. During this time, Ed took pictures of Molly with the ice, which she mentioned was melting.
Deke Slayton was with mission control, contacting Jamestown Base, where Ed, Gordo Stevens, and Danielle Poole were currently at. Administrator Weisner gave them a speech where he announced on behalf of president Kennedy, a new flight director, Irene Hedricks.
60 days after the explosion, Ed, Danielle, and Gordo were still on the moon conducting experiments, while receiving supplies via unmanned Titan rockets while they waited for NASA’s board of inquiry to identify the cause of explosion.
Shane did not want Karen to tell Ed about the water meters he had smashed with Danny, but she told him that she would, and ordered him to wait while she video-talked to Ed, who asked if she had spoken to the doctor. She mentioned she had, who had told her some good news about getting pregnant. Ed told her he was fine, but was working long days; he asked about Shane, who Karen told him was missing the astronaut. However, Ed told her that he had to follow orders until relieved. After Karen left, she told Shane he was grounded for three weeks.
On Jamestown, Ed, Gordo, and Danielle are being told a new contractor was being used for the LH2 valve, but there was a mishap when the rocket was being built and were told that it would take time, so Apollo 24 would be delayed yet another two weeks. They were told that President Kennedy was doing everything he could, and wanted to apologize for the delays.
When they hang up, the three of them watch a show they had watched many times, while Danielle watched her ant farm and Ed tried getting signal. Danielle asked if they had ever seen a shrink when applying to the program, and Ed told her they needed to see about five, which was more than the women had to. Danielle told him that her shrink had asked her if she had ever dreamed of having sex with her father, and they told her that it happened to them as well. All of a sudden, Danielle's ant farm fell and she cleaned it up.
At Jamestown, the three astronauts discover a frequency which they find strange and cannot figure out. Gordo sees an ant and talks about seeing yet another one. Ed discusses spying on the Russians but mentioned that they would not tell Houston. Gordo loses his temper over the ants, since he is told to drop it, but Ed calms him down.
The crew of the Apollo 22 call Houston to tell them they were going back to the base. Once they got there, Danielle told Ed that even though they had gone 30km out, they had not seen anything. Ed told Danielle that the Soviets were crafty and they were still on their part of the crater, which was theirs since they had planted the flag first. Gordo took a walk in the meantime and saw nothing in the distance.
When Gordo got back, he said "hi, Bob," which angered Ed. He asked him what he was doing since they had already discussed that he could not leave the base without his authorization, since if Houston found out, they would punish him. Gordo argued that they first had to bring him back to Earth and tried to make a joke about it since he thought it was bullshit. The argument escalates since they start questioning whether or not Gordo had actually seen blinking lights. Ed tells Gordo to stand down, but the latter challenges him, so Ed throws him against the base. They are separated by Danielle, and Ed tells Gordo that he could not leave the base until further notice. Gordo just laughs and Danielle tells him that everything is getting out of control.
Ed, Gordo, and Danielle start getting desperate over a phone call with Buzz and were told that they were being told that they needed two more weeks and were being sent a surprise this time. A new plumbing assembly for the shower; Ed tells them that Gordo is feeling better after his cold. After the conversation with Houston, it appears that their "Hi Bob" tape was fixed, but the tape is ruined after a while. After a while, they all start reciting the tape since they know it by heart, even reciting the laughs.
On November 29, 1974, Ed tells Shane that an action of his was an embarrassment to his entire family since he was supposed to be the man of the house, while Karen listens. He tells his son he is disappointed in him, since he was now 11 years old and wanted to know when he would grow up.
Ed tells Houston that Gordo is still sick while they ascended from the mining site with new samples. Danielle asks him when Gordo would finally be allowed to go back outside, since she had been getting a bad vibe from him lately, but Ed told her that his friend would be fine. She looks out and is able to spot the Soviet base in the distance, so Ed immediately informs Weisner, who tells him that he would inform the White House and they were told to keep doing business as usual.
Gordo wakes Ed and Dani up so they could do the "Hi Bob" routine, but Ed tells him to quit horsing around since they had a busy day the following day and it was the middle of the night. He moved forward and did the routine himself which surprised Ed, but Gordo got mad whenever he was interrupted. Danielle told him that maybe it was time to call Houston, but Ed refused saying that Gordo needed to go outside. Ed approached him and told him that they should go for a walk.
They walk across the moon's surface and mention taking some pictures, but Gordo mentions he would never do that since no photo could ever really capture what they were seeing. Ed asks Gordo to explain what he was doing back at the base, and Gordo mentions that he was fed up being locked in with the food he hated, and said that he did not sign up for what they were going through. As they were talking, Gordo feels something strange, which he mentions is an ant; he soon tells Ed that there were many ants and they were getting all over him, but was calmed down by Ed.
At the base, Gordo apologized, but was told it was fine. Ed told them that he would tell Houston the truth, which was that they had a medical situation, which he should have listened to before, especially with Danielle's warnings. He told them that he would not abandon the base so the Russians would not get it, but would send them both home. Gordo reminded him that if he stayed, then he had to wait for Apollo 24 to get there, and then the next crew, which Dani mentioned NASA would never approve, but Ed mentioned that he was commander. Gordo mentioned that he was too tired to argue and went to bed. Danielle asked what would become of Gordo, and Ed told her that he would be sent to the shrinks, but it was clear that his career was over and would never be allowed to fly anything ever again.
After a while. Danielle screams in pain, saying that she tried to change the battery, and it appeared she had busted her arm. Ed realized that she was doing that in order for Ed to call NASA and tell them that they needed medical attention. She told him that Clayton had left her and that if Gordo was grounded, he would not return either.
Ed told NASA this, and was told that Gordo and Danielle had been approved to go back home, and his new return date was another two weeks from then. He was promoted to Captain of the United States Navy by the president, with a salary increase retroactive to when the mission had started. He thanked his supervisor, and sent Gordo and Danielle on their way. They all said "Bye, Bob," and left.
Ed is alone on the moon and wakes up to country music. He greets Danielle, who tells him to hook up to the biosensors and to fix the aux tank coupling. He says goodbye and takes a shower, puts on his spacesuit and goes outside, taking pictures.
Ed tells NASA that the Russians were building something, guessing that they were doing something subterranean. Weisner mentions that they have also talked about subterranean did not mean anything, but Ed mentioned that they had been more aggresive lately, moving across the rim. Weisner reminds them that they are not in a military scenario and is berated by the general.
On the moon, Ed moves forward and moves down the crater, where he drills into the crater only to soon find out the Soviets had planted a camera in his working space. Weisner told him to leave it since they did not want any international conflict on the moon, but Ed disagrees since it was their territory. Weisner mentions that they would talk to the president and orders him to do nothing.
Talking to Ed, Karen mentioned problems she had been having with a fence. Ed soon asked her how Shane's game had gone and she told him that it had been good, but when Ed started asking more questions, she started having a hard time answering. She told him that Shane had a good game, being nervous at first, but doing well in the end. They reminisce about Shane when he was younger and Karen mentions that nowadays, it always seemed like Shane did not have enough time. Ed told her that only ten more days and he would be down there, and they said goodbye.
While Ed worked out, he got a fax from the Soviets, sending him their condolences for what had happened to Shane. Ed asks Gordo what was going on, so the latter suggests that perhaps something had been lost in translation. Ed wonders if maybe the Soviets were monitoring his conversations since he had talked to Karen about Shane earlier. Gordo mentions that he has no idea what the Russians were up to and Ed starts getting angry, mentioning that what the Russians were doing was low, even for them.
Ed walks to the mining site as Karen walks through the hospital. She sees Tracy and NASA's doctor waiting for her; he told her that there was nothing else he could do for Shane. Ed grabbed the Soviet monitoring device and destroyed it filled with rage. Karen walked into Shane's hospital room and started crying.
When Ed walks back into Jamestown, Karen calls him crying and tells him about what had happened to Shane, which visibly shakes him.
Gordo calls Ed, but he does not answer and turns off communications while drinking a bottle of Chivas and starts banging his head.
On the moon, Ed receives a long fax; forcing himself to wake up, he looks out the window. He rides the rover and builds a grave for Shane by placing a bunch of rocks together, also writing down his name.
Ed saw something strange. He saw a Soviet rover nearby and saw a Russian using his lift. The two looked at each other and the Russian brandished a hammer threateningly. Ed backed away from the Soviet, who then moved off towards his rover.
Ed got a knock at Jamestown base from the Soviet. Ed sarcastically asks if his rover had broken down and he did not have enough oxygen to get back to base. The Soviet lifted his visor and Ed told him to come in. The Soviet entered the base and put his suit down, showing Ed he had no weapons as well. However, Ed removed the oxygen from the room Ivan was in, and suffocated him till he lost consciousness.
The Soviet astronaut wakes up, bound to a wall by Ed. Ed orders him to speak English; Ivan asks him why had cut off his oxygen, but Ed ignores the question and asks him what he was doing in his mine. The Soviet tells him he was not looking for anything there, and Ed asks him what the device he had left there since it was his territory. Ivan, however, tells him that the moon belongs to everybody and counters the fact that if it depended on who was there first, then a Russian man had landed on the moon first and had even said that the moon belonged to everybody. Edward remembered it differently, but Ivan told him that there was enough ice for everyone. Ed asks him what he had been doing, but Ivan told him that he could not tell him and should be let go since his compatriots would be looking for him. However, Ed told him that he knew they only had one rover and walked away.
Ed was not answering NASA's messages. Ivan requested water, which Ed told him he would give him when he told him what the Soviets were building. Ivan asks him what his plan was since he knew that he had not been communicating with NASA. He reminds Ed that he had been there for 37 hours and tells him that everybody would believe he had died. He told Ed of problems with his child, but Ed made fun of him for simply following orders. Ivan asked him what he did since he did not follow orders, and was a real American cowboy. He also tells him that his name is not Ivan, but Mikhail and reviewed Ed's options. Ed told him that he would not kill him and Ivan told him that he had also seen the bad parts of America and slapped him, which he told him was the real America.
Ed was awakened by Mikhail, who was singing. He asked the Soviet if he had done anything and asked him to stop singing. Mikhail told him that Elvis was banned in the USSR, but people found a way to listen to him, and called the singer fantastic. Ed told him that he had wanted Sinatra played at his wedding, but ended up playing "Love Me Tender" at his wedding. He told him that they went to see him a year ago, but that Elvis was a joke now, but Mikhail told him that Elvis would always be king, but Ed mentioned that Sinatra would always be the one. Mikhail noticed that the lights were flickering in a pattern, which they read as morse code. Ed then called NASA and contacted Gordo and Danielle. Ed told them that he needed some alone time, but was back.
Margo told mission control that they would have a 33 minute window during which 24 would be within lunar orbit range. Ed watched the transmission as well. Margo told everyone what to do and told them that if they did not play their cards correctly, Deke and Ellen might be lost in space. Gordo mentioned they might have another problem: the distance that Ed would be flying was pushing the LSAM's range. Ed asked about Apollo 15, since the descent stage still had fuel in it. They started working on it, and Margo told them that they did not have a lot of time.
Margo told everyone to focus and was handed a paper which prompted her to tell Danielle to call Ed so they could send him the fueling procedures.
Ed received them and Mikhail told him that he would require the Soviet's help since he did not have enough time. Ed told him that he had it under control, but Mikhail told him that he was not in Korea anymore and told him that they had no choice but to trust each other, asking him to let him help. And so, Ed and Mikhail traveled to the Apollo 15 by rover and did as Ed was instructed by NASA.
Gordo told Ed that there were ten minutes left to launch, Ed then thanked Mikhail and gave the Soviet back the part to the rover and gave him his monitoring device. Mikhail wished Ed good luck, and the American left. He radioed Houston and began the launch sequenced helped by Gord, Danielle and Margo.
Ellen fed Deke, who was now laying down. They suddenly heard Ed radio to them and Ellen responded, saying they were there to rescue him. He greeted Ellen and asked how Deke was doing, but Ellen told him that space had made Deke more soft and cuddly than usual. Ed said he was sorry to hear that and told them how the plan would go.
Ed radios 24 and tells them that Houston was working on a fix, but Deke says that there would be no time for him to dock. Ellen suggests Ed throwing a tank. Weisner argues against it, but Margo tells him to shut up or fuck off. Ed removes the tank while Ellen exits 24; he throws the tank, but it went a little too high. Ellen removed her chord and jumped, successfully attaching it to the tank and barely able to hold on to it. Everybody at Houston celebrates, completely impressed by the stunt.
When Ellen makes it to the moon, they stand in front of Shane's grave and drop Deke's pin on the ground, also burying him next to Shane's grave.
Ed tells Ellen that she should probably rest since during the next few days, they would start digging, but Ellen tells him that he would be returning on Osprey. Ed tells her that they can not expect to hold the mission then, since she would be alone and could not leave the base after everything that had happened. He mentioned another relief mission that would be there in a few days, but Ellen tells him that she would send him back home. Ellen tells him that she relieves him as commander of Jamestown and Ed nods.
Later, Ed leaves the moon and heads back towards Earth, crying as he entered the atmosphere. When he got there, he went to Shane's room with Karen.
As of 1983 Ed has been promoted to the rank of Admiral in the US Navy and Chief of Astronauts at NASA.
Gary greets Ed, who is putting in his office. Ed asks Piscotty what he can do for him and Gary says he wanted to talk about his career, which he realized was a big deal. Ed knew he wanted a prime crew slot on Pathfinder, which made Ed laugh since it was ambitious wanting to be prime crew on the vehicle which would take them to Mars and beyond. Ed tells Gary that he likes ambition and would be one hell of an astronaut, but would let him know when he was ready. Gary tells Ed that he had been there for three years and had many achievements, but no space time. Ed tells him that he does not like redheads and tells him to trust him. He tells Gary to take his foot off the golf ball, and asks for the door to be closed when he leaves. Ed laughs after the encounter.
Ed is visited by Thomas, who tells him that the president had some concerns about Pathfinder, and Ed tells him that he does not need his approval since he only works with crew members. Thomas tells him that the White House wanted it to be a unanimous decision, but Ed realizes that all they wanted was for the press not to say that they had decided to do a little saber-rattling over the objections people at JSC had. Thomas asks him to work with him since they needed to send a message to the Soviets since they were already testing their own shuttle. He also tells him that Margo was protecting her turf when Ed mentioned they had tested second generation shuttles and was worried that they would put weapons on the shuttle and it would become a military asset. Ed tells him that Margo is not wrong, since he had needed to go to the Pentagon more than he would have liked to and knew that they would love to add Pathfinder to their fleet. Thomas asks if he turned Margo over to his side if Ed would join and Ed tells him that if he is able to do so, he would not stand in his way.
Ed makes it to Outpost and goes directly to Karen's office, who tells him that thanks to her work, she would be able to pay off the second mortgage on the house the following month a full year ahead of schedule. He congratulates her and they are brought spaghetti by their adopted daughter, who mentions that she had not been able to look at the college catalogue Karen had given her. Karen mentions that one of the colleges had a great theater program, but Ed tells her that engineering, physics, computer science or any of those careers, which were "the future." However, Karen reminds him that they would not push her into studying something she did not want, and Ed agreed.
Karen worked the bar at Outpost, while Ed mentioned that that Tracy would be on television. On the program, Tracy greets the host and tells him that she had returned from being in Rio and Aruba, also stopping at Vegas before returning. The host asks her if she has a new ring and she tells him that it is a ring Sam Cleveland had given her when they got married in Vegas.
At home, Gordo asks himself why she had gotten married without even a phone call, but Jimmy tells his father that she had left a message on the machine the day before, but had not mentioned she was getting married since she sounded "loopy," which was typical of Tracy. As Jimmy left, Gordo asks him how he felt about his mother getting married again, but he mentions he does not know. The phone rings, and Ed asks Gordo if he was watching, which he mentions he was. Gordo asks his friend if he knew about it, but Ed mentions he did not and asks if Gordo is okay and if he needed some company, but Gordo says he would be fine.
Margo, Ed and Thomas got to mission control, where Margo told them that life on Earth was safe, but everything outside of the Earth's atmosphere was in danger, so they told different orbiting satellites to get closer to Earth, also ordering the Jamestown astronauts to get back to the base as soon as possible.
Earth was hit by the solar flare, and they lost all forms of communication. Margo asked Ed what the last headcount was, and he mentioned that ten minutes ago 14 were in the shelter and three were within visual sight of the base. He told her that Molly was a survivor and that they would be okay. Thomas told them that the White House would be explaining the storm and revealed that Raegan was on Air Force One since they were worried that the Soviets would make a move during the satellite blackout.
Margo talks to Ellen through a video communicating device and asks her how the power situation was holding up. Ellen says that they were recuperating and told Ed that life support systems should be doing fine, but the Mars program would have to be put on hold, also mentioning that the fuel rods were damaged. Margo takes note that they would need to send more plutonium and says that she would alert Guam to implement nuclear transportation guidelines, only to be told by Bradford that they would need to ask the Pentagon first. Thomas walks in with news that the president wanted to ease tensions with the Soviets, mentioning that putting missiles on Pathfinder was on hold for now and that they needed an American astronaut and a Soviet cosmonaut to come together for a handshake in space. Margo laughed, but Thomas told Ed to prep the crew. Margo said that it would never be done, but Thomas told her to relax and to figure something out.
Gordo played a video game, but was told by Ed that he would never win. After he loses, he goes to Ed who is manning the bar. In the meantime, Danielle was unsure about leaving her car; she read a passage from the Bible, but still did not get out. Gordo said that he could not imagine what Danielle was going through. As soon as Danielle got to them, they all said "Hi Bob" to each other. They discussed changes made to Outpost like a plant Karen wanted to put there and the removal of the pool table. Ed asked Danielle how she was and she said she was okay, but missed Clayton, who had struggled during his last nine years. She tells them that she wants to go back to Jamestown since none of them had been up there in nine years, but neither of them want to go back. Gordo tells her that there was more to being an astronaut than just going to space, but said she was tired of reminiscing. Ed tells her that he would start the paperwork the next day, and they all celebrate.
Ed looks at his board and gets visited by Tracy, who gives him Ed McMahon's mug. She mentions that Johnny wanted to shoot a few segments in Jamestown, but Ed tells her that he needs her more focused on the program and even though it would give kids more insight on what they are doing on the moon, Ed reminds her that she had missed her third SIM and launched in a month. Tracy apologizes because she had gotten her schedule mixed up after celebrating with her new husband Sam; she mentions that she would go to SIM, but after noticing he was being cold to her, she asks him if there was a problem, but he says there was not. She asks if he could not be happy for her, but he tells her that she did not have to announce her marriage on national television and Gordo deserved to know before. However, Tracy mentions that he was never concerned with her knowing about Gordo having sex with women in Cape and leaves.
Later, Ed plays golf with Karen, Molly, and Wayne. None of them do a very good job, except for Wayne, who hits a perfect drive. Molly makes fun of Ed for having to use reading glasses and says that she sometimes felt that being on Earth felt like being in outer space. Ed tells her that he read the incident report and knew that there was no way she had waited in the lava tube for the storm to pass and asks if she is okay. She tells him that she is fine and asks if he misses being on the moon. He says he does, but not as much as he thought he would. Molly asks him if he was okay with someone taking "his baby," the Pathfinder to space, and he says that he had had all the time he needed up in space. She says that when she first met him, she never expected to see him happy behind a desk, and he agrees. He says that he found himself happy, even though he did not expect to find himself where he was before. He smells marijuana, and Molly says that Wayne and Karen would deny having smoked it.
Ed works on painting a small biplane, when he gets a call. He picks up and is called by Karen to Outpost, since Gordo was drunk and making everyone uncomfortable. Ed makes it to the bar and tells Gordo to go for a walk with him. They walk and Ed tells him to forget about Tracy since they had been divorced for nearly five years and she had moved on. He says that he cannot leave the past behind because he had left something up on the moon and felt like he did not exist on Earth and did not know what he was doing. He recognizes that Ed had been through worse things, like Shane's death, but he had found a way to make peace. They sit down and Ed told him that his kids worshipped him; Gordo asked Ed if he remembered what it was like for them, and his friend said he did. Gordo said that before everything seemed possible, but not anymore, and starts crying. Soon after, Gordo tells Ed he would sleep and wishes Ed a good night. Ed looks at one of Gordo's pictures, one where he stood with him dressed in his space suit.
Gordo is woken up by a woman at JSC, who tells him that a weekly staff meeting had been moved to that day. She hangs up and Gordo gets up and heads to NASA. He makes it to the meeting room, where he immediately grabs a cup of coffee. Danielle tells him he looks like hell, but Gordo says he feels excellent. He asks Danielle why the meeting had been moved up, but she did not know. Ed enters the room, and wishes everybody a good morning. He tells them that there would be a Jamestown 81 debrief and that he had a new flight assignment to announce. He tells them that Danielle would be joining the crew of STS-83 Romeo. After everybody congratulates her, he says that Gordo would join her as well. When he goes to congratulate him, Gordo tells him that he would not head back up and reminds him that he knew it. However, Ed reminded him that he was the one who decided.
On the moon, astronauts are moving towards Jamestown, but stop to take a look at gear they found on the way. It seems that they took their mining site, which they report to the base.
Ed tells Bradford and Margo that the only way that the Soviets knew about the lithium on the site was because they had cracked their code, despite NASA changing the encryption keys every month. Thomas tells them that Raegan had decided not to tell the United Nations, instead taking the mining site back by replacing the gear the Soviets had placed and holding the area. This was due to the fact that if they did not do anything, nothing would stop the Russians from taking other sites from them. Margo agrees, but Bradford is not very sure until Thomas tells him that the Russians cannot stay there forever, while Ellen tells them that they could have three teams monitoring the site at all times. Ed mentions that the security detail would need weapons, but Thomas says that nobody had mentioned weapons. Bradford and Ed can not see any other solution to the problem, but Ellen reminds them that even if they could modify guns in order to be used on the moon, no astronaut was qualified to use them. However, Ed and Bradford agree that if they sent marines to the moon, it would be possible. Margo says that there has to be another way, but they simply can not see another choice.
At NASA, Ed and Bradford discussed whether or not the Russians had had ears on their communication to Jamestown all along, since cosmonaut Vasiliev had remained at Jamestown alone. He asked Ed if it was possible that Mikhail had planted a bug at Jamestown, but Ed said that it was not. However, Bradford reminds him that he was emotionally vulnerable at the time.
At NASA astronauts tell Margo that they had not noticed any abnormalities at the time. Bradford tells Margo to ask about the overhead lights, so the astronauts check and find that Mikhail had managed to plant a bug at Jamestown when he was with Ed. Ed looks disappointed, while Thomas mentions that the president would not like that.
At home, Ed is awake in bed and reminisces back to his encounter with Mikhail. He gets out of bed and walks to model what he was working on. After a while, he grabs a box and brings it down.
Tracy goes to Ed's office and tells him that being on the moon with Gordo was complete bullshit since she did not want people to think of them as the space couple. He says that nobody was talking about that, but she tells him that she knew he only gave Gordo the assignment out of pity. However, Ed says that he only makes decisions based on what he believes is best for the program, but she insults him, saying that he made decisions based on his golf score and how big a dump he had taken that day. Ed tells her that she is out of line, but she says that she would not be a laughing stock again, taking Gordo's sticker off the board and telling him to bounce Gordo off the flight. Ed tells her that Gordo would not leave his flight, but says that if she wanted out of hers, to just say the word, but she should not expect new assignments soon while he was in office. She gets angry, but says that she would not leave her flight.
Ed got home and walked in, seeing Karen and Kelly happy. He is surprised to see actual dinner being made and asks if it is a special occasion. Karen says that it is since Kelly had finally decided where she wanted to go. Kelly tells him that she had decided on Annapolis, which surprises him, and he refuses, getting angry and telling Kelly to go to her room.
As he left the house, Karen told him to stop and discuss it. Ed says that he is the man of the house and did not need to explain himself to anyone, and when Kelly told him that she did not need his permission to apply, Ed said that he knew the superintendent of the academy, so with one phone call, she would be rejected. Kelly says that if he does that, she would go to the recruiting office and go to Annapolis as an enlisted sailor. Ed said that she could do that, but said that she should pack her bags an never come back. Karen tells him to take it back, and pushes him, while saying that she did not know what had gotten into him.
Kelly tells Karen to stop and starts crying, saying that whatever had happened, she did not want it to continue. Ed agrees, and so does Karen; he apologizes for having said what he said, also saying that he did not want her to leave. Kelly asks Ed what was going on, but Ed said that he did not know and had suddenly reacted and knew that he should be proud, but had gotten an overwhelming feeling that he was going to lose her as in her dying, like Shane. Ed starts crying and Karen says that she had the same feeling, but reminds him that Shane had died while biking down the street, mentioning that there was nowhere on Earth that was safe. Ed says that he was not there when Shane died and was not there for anyone, only being able to scream into the night. He mentions that he had promised himself never to let that happen again, always being there for Karen and Kelly to protect them. Karen asks Ed if he thinks that it was his fault, and he says that Shane had been angry at him and he was not on Earth, but Karen tells him that it had been an accident and says that thinking back to that day was just torturing themselves. The three hug each other and Kelly gives Ed the Popeye action figure. Karen tells him that she remembers when he wanted to join the navy, also mentioning that both of them ended up in the navy, with Shane wanting to be in the navy as well. Kelly starts singing a navy song, and both her parents join in.
Karen prepares breakfast and is joined by Ed, who reads over a paper she wants him to sign. He asks why she was cancelling their trip to the Bahamas and she says that she did it since he would be going back to space, which confuses him, but she says that he would be going on Pathfinder. He tells her that he would not be going back up, as he was happy where he was, but she tells him that he obviously was not. He said that he was very upset and had overreacted, but she says that he has a special look when every launch goes up or when he talks about Pathfinder. She tells him that things would be different since she would be running Outpost and would not be sucked into being worried about him all the time, but tells him to go.
Ed makes it to NASA and looks at his board and eyes his Pathfinder model with a smile.
Ed is poured three shots by Danny Stevens at Outpost. He tells him not to let anyone harass his daughter. Ed is joined by Danielle and Gordo; and they all drink their shots. He tells them that he has decided to go back to space and command Pathfinder. When Danielle asks why, he tells her that she inspired him and that they had been doing great on their performance tests. Gordo does not look so good, and says that he had a weird moment in his suit where he felt trapped and mentioned that he had to take his helmet off. Ed mentions that Gordo had changed a lot in 9 years and Danielle says that he had gone to therapy. Danielle says it is good to be back, but mentions that she has to take care of family business in Dallas. Danielle asks who would be taking command of the astronaut office, and Ed laughs.
Ed stumbles upon Gary, who got a sandwich from the vending machine. He gives him a navy hat, but Gary tells him that he was air force. Ed told him to put the cap on, which he does, but pulls it down when Ed tells him to. Ed told him to meet him in Palmdale California, since he would be joining him on Pathfinder.
As Ed cleaned up his office, Danielle joined him. She closed the door and told him that she appreciated the assignment to Jamestown, but she mentioned it was not good enough since she wanted a command slot since she had risked a lot and was still riding in the back. She said she wanted to be the first African-American woman to command a mission since she did not want to be seen as weak. Ed mentions that skin was not everything, but she tells him that out of the 205 pilots, they only had 11 black pilots, of which only one had commanded a mission. Ed tells her that the pilots just were not ready, but she tells him that that was not good enough. She tells him that the program could change the way people saw the world, but he told her that he had to get to a meeting.
Ellen, Bradford, Margo, and Thomas congratulated him on his nine years of service as head of the astronaut office. When Ed asked if he had to make a wish, Margo told him that it had already been granted since he would be commanding Pathfinder. Ed blows out the candle and the meeting begins. Thomas tells them that the Soviets had agreed to mount a mission with them on the moon, which nobody likes. Bradford says that the only reason they accepted was so that they could get a closer look on American technology, but Ellen says that they have old technology which they could use. Everybody likes the idea of that, and Thomas asks Ed to choose a crew. He says the commander would be Danielle, but Thomas says that they might want to consider different possibilities since they only wanted the best. Ed asks what that was supposed to mean, since what had happened to Danielle's arm was not her fault; Ellen agrees with Ed and Margo does as well. Everybody likes the idea and Bradford mentions that this would be a powerful message, and after Thomas says that he would let everybody know, he asks him to tell him if anybody gave him any trouble so he could call the Secretary of Defense so he would support it.
Ed looks back at his office one last time and just as he was about to leave, Thomas asks him what had happened, since he thought they were friends. Ed says that it had not been premeditated, and Thomas mentions that lately nothing had been with him since Gordo's mission and assigning himself to Pathfinder had come out of nowhere. Ed defended Gordo, but Thomas counters that everybody knew he had a drinking problem. Thomas says that he hopes there was reason to his actions as opposed to nepotism.
Later, Ed wakes up and heads into the bathroom. He leaves dressed up in his suit and makes himself a cereal. As he left his house, he decided to use his corvette he had in the garage. However, as he left, the car broke down.
Gary wore his cap and was nervous since Ed was late. His colleague asked him about his hat since he was from the Air Force, and he says that he had lost a bet which he could not remember since he had been drunk. The woman found it strange that NASA had picked him to fly right seat in its first nuclear spacecraft. Ed arrives and tells them that he had car trouble. He tells them that he wanted them to supervise the sim mods while he flew out to the Cape to check out the launch control center upgrades. First, Ed shows them Pathfinder and tells them that it would help them reach Mars faster. He mentions that they needed to test the ship, and reminds them that he had chosen them since they were the best. He tells them that they could not fuck up, so they would train a lot.
Later, Gordo meets up with Ed, who asks him if he is ready to go. Gordo told Ed that he had seen ants while watching TV at Outpost while sober. He mentions that Danny had been there, but that the ants were real. Gordo tells his friend that he had thought he was losing it again and wonders if it would happen on the moon again, but Ed told him he was fine. Gordo told Ed that his father was a very tough man, and had never backed away from anything until he got cancer, which scared him. Gordo says that that had been too much for him and says that maybe his father had always lived in fear. He asks Ed what he needed to do, and Ed told him to act like a man since he was an astronaut and started mocking him. Gordo told him to cut it out lest he do something about it. Ed walks out and Gordo follows him. They flew and Ed told Gordo he would test them to see if they had any balls.
As Gordo and Ed flew, Ed showed Gordo a few tricks, but Gordo told him that he had seen it coming. Ed's jet caught fire and he was forced to eject. He opened his parachute and headed straight for water.
Karen wakes up at night to a phone call. She and Kelly sit at the breakfast table, and she tells her daughter that she was devastated by the phone call and could not live like that. Although Kelly tries to comfort her mother Karen is not convinced. The phone rings and Kelly picks up, and is told that Ed was fine. Karen says that it was good for Kelly to know what it was like when situations like this happened.
Later, Ed arrives at the house, they both worry since he looks terrible, but he mentions that all that happened was that he had gotten wet. Ed apologizes, but Karen seems a little off, and says she would go to work even though it was 6 A.M. Ed turns to Kelly, who tells him that it had been a long night for both of them.
Gordo and Ed sit at NASA while listening to their recordings while on their jets. They are joined by Thomas, Margo, and Molly who pauses the recordings and asks them to give her a good reason why she should not pull their tickets. Gordo says that he takes full responsibility, but Molly asks him when he had ever done such a thing. Ed tells her that he cannot take him off Pathfinder, but she reminded him that she could. She tells them that they have one last chance and tells them to leave. Thomas asks Molly if that was it, since he wanted a harsher punishment, but Molly told him that it was not that big a deal since things had gotten out of hand, which happened all the time. Thomas reminded her that the jets were expensive; Margo also told Molly that she should set a certain tone, but Molly reminded them that she would handle them as she saw fit.
Danny is having dinner with Karen and Kelly. When Ed joins them, he salutes Ed, who tells him to stand down. As soon as Ed sat down, Danny left. Karen told Ed that she did not think he would be joining them, and Kelly brought Ed a plate, but also left. Ed tries to break the silence between him and Karen by saying he wanted to watch a movie, but she spoils it for him and leaves him to eat dinner alone.
The Baldwin family watches the news, which mentions that people are protesting the launch of the Sea Dragon, since it contained nuclear fuel. Karen says that it does not seem very safe, and asks what would happen if it exploded in the atmosphere, and Ed mentioned that was why the launch was in the middle of nowhere. The launch begins, and after it successfully lifted off, Ed reassured her that there was nothing to worry about, which did not convince her. Kelly asks Ed what he had written his essay about when he had gotten into Annapolis, but Ed said he did not remember, and told her to simply tell them who she was, which left her stumped. She asks Ed why they had adopted her, and Ed tells her that when they walked into the adoption center, they saw her help a kid with a puzzle, being kind and patient and tells her that they knew right away. Karen told her that it was love at first sight, and Ed agreed. However, Kelly asked why they did not have another baby. Karen tells her that she had some medical issues, and Ed had been living away from Karen for a while, since it was a difficult time after Shane died. They remember getting excited over adopting a Vietnamese baby, which makes Kelly think she only served as their band-aid, but Karen tells her that she was their heart transplant.
Ed, Gary, and Sally simulated flying the Pathfinder and they ran into a problem. Ed asked Gary to handle the situation, but he made a mistake, so Ed showed them how to handle it.
At Kennedy Space Center, a nervous Gordo and his crew prepare for the launch. Gordo greets Ed, who tells him he wanted to take a look at the old shuttles before Pathfinder made them obsolete and tells him he is proud of him. Gordo thanks him and tells him he is ready; when his helmet is placed on his head, he smiles at Ed and the two shake hands before his launch.
Ed, Gary, and Sally are told by Bradford and Margo that the president had armed Pathfinder, so the mission would now be a joint mission between NASA and the Department of Defense. Ed asks if they would be firing missiles, and Braford informs him that there would be a fire exercise to demonstrate the system, firing towards drones which would simulate Russian satellites. They are told that Pathfinder's missiles were primarily for self-defense, which makes Sally question if they would be used for offensive purposes, but Margo tells them that that is not the mission plan.
Simulating the Pathfinder, Ed, Sally and Gary try firing it, shooting both targets successfully. Sally tells them she could use some air and leaves.
Molly gets visited by Ed, who makes fun of her for having to use glasses, when she had made fun of him before. He teases her about getting old, but she tells him that DOD was taking over his mission and tells him about the Buran situation. She informs him that his new launch date would be in a couple of days and she tells him to be safe.
Ed tells Gary and Sally that they would be going up against Buran, which Sally mentions would be one hell of a test flight, since many things could go wrong. Ed acknowledges that, but tells them they needed to make sure Sea Dragon could reach the moon, escorting it to Jamestown. He tells them about their guns, since they might need to defend themselves returning, also having to destroy Pathfinder if they returned to hostile territory. He tells them that he understood if they wanted to drop out of the mission. None of them drop out but Sally asks if there were nuclear weapons aboard Sea Dragon 17, to which Ed sincerely responds that he does not know.
Kelly watches the news while Karen cooks. While Kelly talks about what she sees, Karen does not pay attention and tells her to get everything ready for when Ed got home. However Ed walks in and tells them that he could not stay since he had to leave, but wanted to say goodbye to them both. Karen does not pay much attention to Ed, though and simply cooks until she interrupts Kelly to tell her that Ed could not promise them that he would be okay since it was unrealistic, which Ed says is right. They hug, and Ed asks Karen if she could walk him to the car.
When they go outside, Ed asks her if she is okay and she coldly tells him she is tired and tells him she would explain why she was behaving weirdly until he got back since he had to focus on Pathfinder. However, he told her that he would not be able to concentrate until she told him. She tries to avoid telling him, but he reminds her of the pact they had made to not keep secrets from one another. She reveals that she slept with someone else and she did it sober and knowingly. Ed asks who, since it mattered to him and asks her if this was a way of asking him for a divorce, but she tells him they need counselling, which angers Ed since he thought marriage was a thing where you either wanted in or out. She tells him that he does not like living in the gray, which Ed does not understand. He gets in his car and leaves.
At Sea Dragon launch control, everyone got ready for Pathfinder and Sea Dragon's launch, which worried Margo. Sea Dragon launched successfully while Bradford and Ellen watched Pathfinder's launch. However Ed was thinking about his conversation with Karen. They separated from a bigger plane and headed straight for space with a lot of power and made it into orbit. Ed tells them that flying into space had always been a wonder and now they had finally done it.
Ed flies through space and thinks about Karen until he is called by Gary, who tells him to sleep, but he does not accept. Gary tells him they are two hours away from the blockade line, which is where they would face Buran. Gary asks him if he is okay, but Ed tells him to get back to work.
Ellen tells Ed about Jamestown and he remembers he put everybody on that base. Sally asks why they would attack Jamestown, but they do not know. Ed tells them that they saw a weakness in them and Bradford tells them that they were their last hope. They start losing signal as they reach the far side of the moon.
Pathfinder gets a radio in which they are told they were violating a space treaty and would be fired at if Sea Dragon did not leave immediately. Sea Dragon would be within missile range in five minutes, so Ed tells Gary to open the payload doors, which reveals their weapons.
In space, Buran tells them that they had two minutes to leave, but Ed tells them that if they were fired at, they would fire back. Sally wondered if they were bluffing, but Ed did not believe so. He tells her to lock weapons system on their target, but Sally says that there must be another way. Ed says that they have orders, but Sally reminds him that he is commander of Pathfinder and also reminds him of when he testified on Apollo 10. Ed tells her to lock weapons system on target once more, but when she does not do it, he tells her she is relieved of duty. Sally does as he tells him, but points her gun at him. He tells her to put it down, but she tells him it was not a joke. Ed gets up and tells her to shoot him, since he knew she would not shoot him. He points his gun at her as well, and Gary tells them to stop and tries to think of another way.
Buran had missile lock on Sea dragon 17, so Ed sits down again, telling her he would do what he had to and shoots Sea Dragon down. They look at the cosmonauts and turn back from the moon. Houston contacts them and Ellen asks if they had engaged with Buran, but Ed says they had not, which Ellen is relieved to hear.
Later, at their graves, Ed cries and leaves a deck of cards on top of Gordo's. Molly, Ellen, Danielle, Jimmy, Danny, Karen and Kelly cry as well. Karen leaves Tracy flowers.
After the funeral, Ed and Karen hug and both go their separate ways after Kelly hugs him as well.
- Gemini 7
- Apollo 10 Commander
- Apollo 15 Commander
- Apollo 22 Commander (first leg of the trip only)
- Apollo 24 Acting Commander (return flight only)
- Pathfinder Commander