NASA is in the crisis as the Soviets land the first man on the moon in 1969, the beginning of an alternate history.
On June 26, 1969 in Parras de la Fuente, Mexico, Aleida Rosales is called by her mom, who was watching the moon landing.
Other people are also watching the landing which was preformed by the Soviets. In NASA, and all over the USA, everybody is devastated watching the live broadcasts. The man who landed, Alexei Leonov's first words were "I take this step for my country, for my people, and for the Marxist-Leninist way of life. Knowing that today is but one small step on a journey that someday will take us all to the stars."
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.
NASA chief was questioned by a representative sent by the president, demanding answers. The chief mentioned the CIA failed to tell them there was going to be a Soviet moon landing, but a representative of the CIA mentioned they did report two launches. The white house representative asks if they could move up the launching of the Apollo 11, and was told that the phase of the moon would not allow them to do this.
At a press meeting, Deke is asked why they didn't land on the moon a month before when they had sent Apollo 10. Deke simply responded it was not on the mission plan, and Wernher von Braun supported him by saying the fuel levels on Apollo 10 were insufficient for a landing, and the spacecraft weighed too much for a landing, so it was never considered.
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.
In Mexico, Aleida is mourning her mother, who died of her illness. She gets on a truck with her father.
At NASA, an alarm sounds. Margo Madison tells them the computer is rebooting, but they can still land. However, they do not listen to her, and decide to abort the landing. Wernher von Braun tells her the fault is hers because she hesitated.
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.
After a month since the Soviet landing, Apollo 11 kept training until it was finally time for the departure. Flight director Gene Kranz was giving final instructions and told everyone involved in the control of the mission that this mission was about the future of the United States because if they failed, they would turn away from space and the future, which would belong to the Soviet Union. He also mentioned that if the mission proved to be a success, they would go to Mars and Saturn as well.
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.
As Apollo 11 reached the moon, everything seemed to be in order. Karen and Tracy Stevens were talking when Marge Slayton walked in. Karen went with her to talk, and Marge told her it would be best for Ed to make a public denial, stating that he was misquoted by the reporter. With that, there would be a possibility for Deke to reinstate him onto Apollo 15. However, Karen stated that duty and honor were things that mattered to her husband, so he would never agree to it.
Margo and von Braun are talking in the latter's office and go see if they can effectively land on the moon. At Outpost, everybody cheers for Neil and the rest of the crew. The three started reaching the moon's surface, but could not find a good place to land, also with little fuel left. Asking Gene if they should abort, the director said it was up to Neil now. As they neared the surface, the crew became worried that they would hit something. As one of them warned, telemetric connection, as well as all other means of contact were lost.
NASA tried contacting them, but they were not reaching the crew. As time went by, NASA was still unable to reach Apollo 11. Von Braun concluded it was likely they had crashed. Since the Eagle had such thin "skin", Gene mentioned you could punch a hole in it with a screwdriver. They could have survived, as they had their suits on, but Deke mentioned there was no contingency plan, and von Braun mentioned it was impossible to perform a rescue on the lunar surface.
Mike, who was in orbit used a telescope and concluded Eagle was about six to eight miles southwest to the targeted landing site in a very rocky area, with no movement. Over four hours had passed, and Karen went with Marge, who told them to go to the Aldrin's and Armstrong's houses.
Deke went to von Braun and told them there was a problem since Michael Collins was refusing to return alone. All of a sudden, they received a transmission from Neil, who let them know that they had landed successfully. Everybody cheered, and Gene mentioned they would now focus on bringing them home again.
- Joel Kinnaman as Edward Baldwin
- Michael Dorman as Gordo Stevens
- Sarah Jones as Tracy Stevens
- Shantel VanSanten as Karen Baldwin
- Jodi Balfour as Ellen Waverly (credit only)
- Chris Bauer as Deke Slayton
- Colm Feore as Wernher von Braun
- Eric Ladin as Gene Kranz
- Michael J. Harney as Jack Broadstreet
- Dan Donohue as Thomas Paine
- Arturo Del Puerto as Octavio Rosales
- Olivia Trujillo as Aleida Rosales
- Ben Begley as Charlie Duke
- Rebecca Wisocky as Marge Slayton
- Meghan Leathers as Pam Horton
- Jeff Branson as Neil Armstrong
- Chris Agos as Buzz Aldrin
- Ryan Kennedy as Michael Collins
- Noah Harpster as Bill Strausser
- Nick Toren as Tim "Bird Dog" McKiernan
- Daniel Scott Robbins as Hank Poppen
- Deniz Akdeniz as Paul Santoro
- Brandon Bales as Winston Blake
- Dave Power as Frank Sedgewick
- Nick Wechsler as Fred Talmadge
- Steven Pritchard as Pete Conrad
- Spencer Garrett as Roger Scott
- Teddy Blum as Young Shane Baldwin
- Tony Lewellen as Coop
- Jason Scott David as Young Danny Stevens
- William Lee Holler as Young Jimmy Stevens
- Vanessa Lyon as Graciana Rosales
- Jeffrey Muller as Del
- Max Barsness as Tommy
- Christopher Wallinger as Harvey
- Paolo Cesar as Guide
- Christopher Kohls as Control Officer
- Curtis Fortier as Reporter #1
- Brian Houtz as Reporter #2
- Laura Patalano as Teresa
- Frank Gallegos as Angel
- Margarita Reyes as Elena
- Colton Castaneda as Jim