For All Mankind Wiki

"He Built the Saturn V" is the second episode of For All Mankind. It released on Apple TV+ on November 1, 2019.


Director von Braun opposes President Nixon's directive, with dire consequences.


Gene Kranz does not feel confident about Neil Armstrong turning the Eagle to a vertical position as it would cost them a lot of fuel. He tells this to Wernher von Braun, but the latter is confident. Neil and Buzz Aldrin are authorized to turn the Eagle over, which they do by detaching the top part. They manage to fly again and reach Michael Collins, who was still waiting for them.

Edward Baldwin 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.

Deke and von Braun met with Thomas in order to discuss a military base on the moon.

Von Braun talks to Thomas O. Paine who is worried about blueprints. However, von Braun does not believe they are a threat, but the Thomas wants von Braun to make blueprints for a military outpost on the moon and wants him to unveil the plan in his testimony for the committee beginning with Apollo 12 due to instructions from the president. However, von Braun refuses, saying that NASA is a scientific program, not military. Asking Deke if he would be willing to accept more men, he agrees, but mentions Apollo 12's flight is soon. Thomas mentions they may need to move it up a bit, but von Braun refused since they were being encroached and could not allow space to become another battlefield, but Thomas argued it already was.

After this, Nixon is angry due to von Braun refusing his orders, asking for him to be removed. However, von Braun is defended, as he is quite untouchable since he is a loved figure throughout the United States. However, Nixon is determined and mentions they will need to get creative.

Von Braun discussed retiring with Margo.

Talking to Margo Madison, von Braun considers retiring, but Margo does not agree. Von Braun tells her to maybe consider dating someone, but Margo reminds him she does not have time. Changing the subject, von Braun mentions an interview with Gene, and Margo mentions she had not told him because it was something she wanted to do herself.

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 Cocoa Beach, Florida, Gordo Stevens gets a call from his wife. As a girl leaves his bed, he tells Tracy he misses her and is tired. During the phone call, Tracy starts yelling at her son Danny, and as Gordo is about to tell her to tell Danny to pay attention to her, the girl he was with flushes the toilet, which provokes an awkward silence.

Gene interviewed Margo for a position in mission control.

At her interview with Gene, Margo is asked how she can be sure she will not wilt at the first sign of pressure. She mentions she is different, and when asked how she knew von Braun, she tells Gene that her father used to teach at the University of Huntsville, and von Braun would come over for dinner and while she had never left Huntsville, he helped her believe that anything was possible and was the reason she became an engineer. Afterwards, Gene asked if she would like to have a family, which Margo denied for the time being. Gene replied by saying that not every woman was cut out to be a mother.

Octavio Rosales 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 Rosales, 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.

Karen went to Tracy's house when the latter found out she was being cheated on.

Karen goes to help Tracy out, who is doing everything to take Gordo's things outside the house. Tracy is in a state of shock, but soon they relax and talk about problems with their marriage, and discuss divorce. However, when asking Tracy if she did not love him anymore, Tracy has to admit she still does.

At her office, Margo is joined by von Braun who says he is disappointed in him because she made him look bad. All this because he was the second to the moon, but she was the first woman in mission control. In a state of utter shock she hugs him, and von Braun congratulates her, giving her his ruler. With these news, Margo moves her things to mission control at her new station. When she arrives she is greeted with a hot dog, and all the men make fun of her, calling her Eva von Braun. When she sits down, a coworker tells her to not take it personal, as it was done with every new person.

Gordo is flying a jet, and flies over his house. When Tracy feels the house shake, she tells her children their father is home. When Gordo walks in, he finds his watch on the front lawn. When he kisses Tracy, they both say it is good to see one another, and get ready for the barbecue Karen organized.

Neil told Ed about the different risks and decisions he had to take when landing Apollo 11.

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.

Ed had a hearing with Sandman, where the latter tried to blame von Braun for not landing on the moon during the Apollo 10 misison.

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.

Von Braun was doing well in his hearing with Sandman, but there was a turn of events when they found out he was a Nazi.

At von Braun's conference with congressman Sandman, von Braun mentioned NASA would be pushing to land on Mars, Jupiter, or beyond the solar system, but Sandman argued the Soviets were pushing ahead with plans of a military base on the moon. However, von Braun believed it was time to go to other planets, as it was NASA's purpose. After Sandman told him he was being too cautious after the Apollo 1 fire, von Braun confirmed this, because unlike the Soviets, he cared about the lives of his astronauts. He quoted Neil Armstrong "we pick ourselves up and go back to work," earning the applause of everybody in the room. However, Sandman retaliated that von Braun had built the German V-2 rocket, which had killed many people in London, and von Braun stated his regret that his rockets were used in killing.

When von Braun stated that the questions did not have any relevance, Sandman revealed that von Braun had been a part of the Nazi organization known as the SS, which von Braun mentions was something he was forced into. Sandman turned what the engineer had stated as "caring for the lives" of his astronauts against him, asking if he also cared about the people in concentration camps who had built his rockets. He proceeded to show him photos of the dead workers who had participated in the building of his rockets, but von Braun argued he had no authority and asked him to understand.

Margo was disappointed in von Braun's past decisions.

Back at Nasa, von Braun told Margo that apparently the Soviets had launched another N-1 right ahead of Apollo 12. She ignored him and simply asked if he had known the workers at his factory were slaves from Nazi concentration camps. Von Braun was surprised by the question, and stated he needed to move his work forward, and mentioned if he had done something, he could have been killed and everything he had done would be ruined. However, Margo told him he can not state what "could have been." Wernher stated that after the war, he chose the USA to give his life's work, but now he was an old man and could be replaced. Margo once again asked him if he knew, and he simply stated that progress was never free, always having a cost. Margo left in silence.

At home, Aleida burnt a newspaper of von Braun, 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.

On the day of the Apollo 12 launch, the USA neared peace with Vietnam as well as a lunar base on the moon. Gene led the exploit, asking everyone their status as von Braun left the building. Apollo 12 lifted off successfully.

Deke visited Ed at his house in order to bring him back to NASA on the Apollo 15 mission.

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.


  • Joel Kinnaman - Edward Baldwin
  • Michael Dorman - Gordo Stevens
  • Sarah Jones - Tracy Stevens
  • Shantel VanSanten - Karen Baldwin
  • Wrenn Schmidt - Margo Madison
  • Chris Bauer - Deke Slayton
  • Colm Feore - Wernher von Braun
  • Eric Ladin - Gene Kranz
  • Michael Harney - Jack Broadstreet
  • Saul Rubinek - Rep. Charles Sandman
  • Dan Donohue - Thomas Paine
  • Arturo Del Puerto - Octavio Rosales
  • Olivia Trujillo - Aleida Rosales
  • Ben Begley - Charlie Duke
  • Meghan Leathers - Pam Horton
  • Jeff Branson - Neil Armstrong
  • Chris Agos - Buzz Aldrin
  • Ryan Kennedy - Michael Collins
  • Noah Harpster - Bill Strausser
  • Nick Toren - Tim 'Bird Dog' McKiernan
  • Daniel Robbins - Hank Poppen
  • David Andrews - Admiral Scott Uken
  • Nick Wechsler - Fred
  • Steven Pritchard - Pete Conrad
  • Spencer Garrett - Roger Scott
  • Teya Patt - Emma
  • Teddy Blum - Young Shane Baldwin
  • Jason David - Young Daniel Stevens
  • William Lee Holler - Young Jimmy Stevens
  • Shaw Jones - Capcom
  • Jeffrey Muller - Del
  • Max Barsness - Tommy
  • Jason Denuszek - Magazine Photographer
  • Rita Khrabrovitsky - Anastasia Belikova
  • Rachel Rosenbloom - Doris
  • Jessica Amlee - Ginger
  • Krystal Torres - Cata
  • Janelle Froehlich - Pauline
  • Laura Long - Trish