Season 5

Episode 526: “Godspeed” (5th Season Finale)

Episode 526:  “Godspeed” (5th Season Finale)
Original Air Date:May 23, 1999
Written by::Glenn Berenbeim
Directed by:Tim Van Patten
Produced by:

Martha Williamson
Jon Andersen
R.J. Visciglia, Jr.

Guest Cast:


Major Josie Saunders Sherry Stringfield
Greg Brian McNamara
Diana Hayden Panettiere
Matt Demille Scotch Ellis Loring
Brad Wong Tim Lounibos
Eddie Testaverde Kamar de los Reyes
Charles Lindbergh Ned Vaughn
Dr. Timothy Cantor Christian Mills
Dr. Sally Ride Herself



Major Josie Saunders grew up reading all about Charles Lindbergh. It was Lindbergh’s flight across the Atlantic, along with Josie’s own desire to make her mother proud, that fueled her drive to join the Air Force and later NASA. When, just a few days before her first mission into space, Josie learns from a NASA P.R. man, Andrew, that her mother has died, the frightening reality of what she’s about to do hits home. When she returns from the funeral and joins her fellow astronauts, we learn that one of the mission’s Capcoms, Greg, is Josie’s husband. In a private moment, he expresses some concern about her emotional readiness for the mission. He rightly asses that she might be angry and a little scared, but she denies it.

Then she meets Diana, a brave little girl with brain cancer, who asks her to deliver a letter to God while she is in space. Josie becomes suddenly awkward and ends her time with Diana, throwing the letter away. Later, she tells Greg the truth: “I don’t know where my courage comes from. I don’t even know if I ever had it.” She is afraid. One night, Diana’s words echo in her dreams: “What if something goes wrong?” When she wakes up screaming, Tess, a NASA nurse, comforts her and we learn that while Josie loved her mother deeply, they did not really see eye to eye. Her mother had had a strong faith, but since the death of her father, Josie had given up on God. She had always just wanted to show her mother what she could do by herself–without God, without prayer–like Lindbergh crossing the Atlantic. Tess assures her that Lindbergh was never alone and begins to tell the story of Lucky Lindy as Josie has never heard it before. But she only gets so far before Josie falls asleep.

On the day of the mission, Josie meets Sally Ride, who does much to comfort her, and Tess does her part too. She tells Josie that Lindbergh was visited by an angel during his historic flight, and that it was God who got him through, not just his own ability. Josie reminds Tess that she does not believe in God and goes to the shuttle angry, if not quite so scared. The mission goes smoothly until the spacewalk for which Josie had trained so hard. Her tether breaks and then communication is lost; and as she floats off into the dark, soundless solitude of space, the real fear sets in. But she is visited by Monica–Lindbergh’s angel–who tells her to tether herself to God, and to trust Him as her mother had always entrusted her to Him in prayer. She gives her Diana’s letter, which Josie finally “delivers” to God. Communication is restored and as the shuttle comes to get her she asks Greg, back at mission control, if Diana is there. She is, he assures her; Andrew has made sure of that. Josie tells Diana, “I can’t be with you during the surgery. but I’ll be praying for you. Every day. Just like my mother prayed for me…”


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