Private Project

The Collins Story - Connecting the Moon to the Earth: Steps to the Moon

In the days before personal computers, before the Internet and the worldwide web connected us to global information, before smartphones connected us to one another, before GPS guided our journeys…Before this technology was a part of everyday life, American astronauts explored new frontiers in space and on 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.

This first chapter of the series (but third to be completed) tells the story of young Arthur Collins, and how he grew his company into a significant contributor to the American space program. The other two chapters are 2 - "Moon Talk" ( and 3 - "Live from the Moon" (

  • Annette Juergens Busbee
  • Annette Juergens Busbee
  • Arthur A. Collins Legacy Association
  • Steven James
    Key Cast
  • Eric Dean Freese
  • Gerard Estella
    Original Music
  • Wired Production Group
    Production Company
  • Project Type:
    Documentary, Feature
  • Runtime:
    1 hour 12 minutes 10 seconds
  • Completion Date:
    April 1, 2021
  • Production Budget:
    55,000 USD
  • Country of Origin:
    United States
  • Country of Filming:
    United States
  • Language:
  • Shooting Format:
    16mm, 4K, 1080p
  • Film Color:
  • First-time Filmmaker:
  • Student Project:
  • Spotlight Documentary Film Awards 2021
    Atlanta, Georgia
    United States
    January 15, 2022
    Spotlight Gold Award
  • International Brightlight Film Festival 2022
    Reseda, California
    United States
    April 13, 2022
  • Julien Dubuque International Film Festival 2022
    Dubuque, Iowa
    United States
    April 20, 2022
    Official Selection
  • Iowa Motion Picture Awards 2022
    Ottumwa, Iowa
    United States
    May 14, 2022
    Awards of Excellence for Documentary, Editing Long Form and Voiceover Narration
  • The Telly Awards 2022
    New York, New York
    United States
    May 24, 2022
    Bronze Winner - Non-Broadcast Documentary
  • New Media Film Festival 2022
    Los Angeles, California
    United States
    June 1, 2022
    Official Selection
  • SCINEMA International Science Film Festival 2022
    Adelaide SA
    June 8, 2022
    Official Selection
  • Only the Best Film Awards
    Miami, Florida
    United States
    June 10, 2022
    Finalists for Documentary and Editing
  • Interrobang Film Festival 2022
    Des Moines, Iowa
    United States
    June 24, 2022
    Official Selection
  • Iowa Independent Film Festival 2022
    Mason City, Iowa
    United States
    September 9, 2022
    Official Selection
  • Montreal Arthouse Film Festival
    Montreal, Quebec
    October 14, 2022
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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