3…2…1…Blast off! The Right Stuff brings us the incredible story of America’s first astronauts. The special two-episode premiere will air on Disney+ on Fri. Oct. 9. 

Based on the bestselling book by Tom Wolfe, the eight-episode season looks at the early days of the U.S. Space Program and the iconic story of America’s first astronauts, the Mercury 7. Produced for National Geographic by Leonardo DiCaprio’s Appian Way and Warner Bros. Television, The Right Stuff takes a clear-eyed look at America’s first “reality show,” when ambitious astronauts and their families became instant celebrities in a competition of money, fame and immortality.

At the height of the Cold War in 1959, America fears it is a nation in decline as the Soviet Union dominates the space race. But, the U.S. government has a solution – put a man in space. Newly-formed NASA is given the monumental task, and a group of the nation’s best engineers estimate they’ll need decades to accomplish the feat, but they only have two years.

NASA engineers, including rocket scientist Bob Gilruth (Patrick Fischler) and Chris Kraft (Eric Ladin), work against the clock under mounting pressure from Washington. Together, they hand select seven astronauts from a pool of military test pilots. 

The two men at the center of it all are Major John Glenn (Patrick J. Adams) and Lieutenant Commander Alan Shepard (Jake McDorman). Other members of the Mercury 7 include Captain Gordo Cooper (Colin O’Donoghue), Wally Schirra (Aaron Staton),Scott Carpenter (James Lafferty), Deke Slayton, (Micah Stock) and Gus Grissom, (Michael Trotter).

The series also examines the astronauts’ families, including Annie Glenn (Nora Zehetner), Louise Shepard (Shannon Lucio) and Trudy Cooper (Eloise Mumford).

—Jennifer Swartvagher

Featured photo: Disney+

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