American Experience’s Chasing the Moon anchors PBS’s Summer of Space lineup of shows commemorating the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing. Experience the thrilling era of the space race, from its earliest days to the 1969 moon landing. A fascinating mix of scientific innovation, political calculation, media spectacle and personal drama brings the Space Age to vivid life.

Tonight: part one, A Place Beyond the Sky, begins in 1957 and tracks the early years of the space race as the United States struggled to catch up with the Soviet Union. The episode explores both the successes and failures of America’s early space program, and the enormous stakes involved in the quest to reach the moon.

Find much more related content here and watch Chasing the Moon on WGBH’s American Experience, tonight through Wednesday at 9pm on WGBH 2.