Private Project

The Collins Story - Connecting the Moon to the Earth: Live from the Moon

A half century ago, men on board the Mercury, Gemini and Apollo space capsules talked to earth, navigated in space and to the moon and back, and exchanged critical data with mission control. How was this accomplished five decades ago? By the ingenuity and dedication of a company founded in the heartland of America – The Collins Radio Company in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. The 3-part series tells the little-known story of the people who designed the space communication systems and how they did it. These systems were technical feats that had never been done before, and played a crucial role in America’s race to be first to land a man on the moon.

In "Live from the Moon", the third chapter (but second to be completed), we take a close look at the company's contributions to Apollo missions 8 through 17, including how Collins’ reliability was essential in ensuring the astronauts' safety during Apollo 11's moon landing and the tense moments of Apollo 13.

The other chapters are 1 - "Steps to the Moon" ( and 2 - "Moon Talk" (

  • Annette Juergens Busbee
  • Annette Juergens Busbee
  • Arthur A Collins Legacy Association
  • Eric Dean Freese
  • Gerard Estella
  • Steven James
    Key Cast
  • Project Type:
  • Runtime:
    54 minutes 28 seconds
  • Completion Date:
    July 20, 2019
  • Production Budget:
    50,000 USD
  • Country of Origin:
    United States
  • Country of Filming:
    United States
  • Language:
  • Shooting Format:
    1080 and 4K, 16 and 35mm
  • Aspect Ratio:
  • Film Color:
  • First-time Filmmaker:
  • Student Project:
  • Premiere
    Marion, Iowa
    United States
    July 20, 2019
    World Premiere
  • Iowa Motion Picture Awards 2020
    Ottumwa, Iowa
    United States
    May 2, 2020
    Awards of Excellence for Soundtrack Audio Mix and Editing Medium Form; Award of Achievement for Voiceover Narration
  • Spotlight Documentary Film Awards 2021
    Atlanta, Georgia
    United States
    January 15, 2022
    Spotlight Gold Award
  • Cedar Rapids Independent Film Festival 2022
    Marion, Iowa
    United States
    April 1, 2022
    Gold Eddy Professional Documentary
Director Biography

Annette Juergens Busbee is an Iowa journalist and writer and executive producer of the documentary trilogy, “The Collins Story: From The Moon To The Earth.” The series brings to life the story of a small Iowa radio communications company that was an early pioneer in space communications and led the development of groundbreaking communication, tracking and navigation technology for the Mercury, Gemini and Apollo missions. She weaves together research, archival images, 16-millimeter film footage, and interviews with former Collins Radio engineers to tell this little-known story. All three documentaries have been recognized with festival awards and screenings. Annette worked in collaboration with the Arthur A. Collins Legacy Association, the sponsor of the series, and editor Eric Dean Freese.

Eric is Senior Editor and Videographer at Wired Production Group, a full-service event A/V and video production company in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. He produces regional and nationwide corporate and live event video, but has special interests in documentary production and motion design, and is a jib operator and certified drone pilot. Eric is also an independent film enthusiast, both as a crew member and filmmaking organization volunteer. He is married with two sons who have started making their own films.

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