After an explosive season premiereFor All Mankind Season 2 is doubling down on space travel and exploration. We spoke with Jodi Balfour and Sonya Walger about what’s coming up for their characters in this new season set in 1983.

Jodi Balfour, who plays Ellen Waverly, one of the astronaut candidates for NASA in Season 1, returns this season but no longer with a focus on the moon. Instead, she’s sent back to the Johnson Space Center in Houston to work from the administration side. We talked to Balfour about Ellen’s motivations to go to Mars and also about Ellen’s struggle as a closeted lesbian.

Sonya Walger, who plays Molly Cobb, another astronaut candidate from Season 1 and the first American woman to go to the moon, also returns to earth this season, though perhaps less because she wants to and more because she needs to. We talked to Walger about Molly’s life-changing experience in the season premiere and where she might go in the future.

For All Mankind explores what would have happened if the global space race had never ended. The series presents an aspirational world where NASA astronauts, engineers, and their families find themselves in the center of extraordinary events seen through the prism of an alternate history timeline — a world in which the USSR beats the US to the moon.

Season two of the space drama picks up a decade later in 1983. It’s the height of the Cold War and tensions between the United States and the USSR are at their peak. Ronald Reagan is President and the greater ambitions of science and space exploration are at threat of being squandered as the US and Soviets go head to head to control sites rich in resources on the moon. The Department of Defense has moved into Mission Control, and the militarization of NASA becomes central to several characters’ stories: some fight it, some use it as an opportunity to advance their own interests, and some find themselves at the height of a conflict that may lead to nuclear war.

Watch The Beat‘s exclusive chat with Balfour and Walger below!

The series also stars Joel Kinnaman, Michael Dorman, Sarah Jones, Shantel VanSanten, Wrenn Schmidt, Krys Marshall, Cynthy Wu, Coral Peña, and Casey W. Johnson.

Watch For All Mankind Season 2 Fridays on Apple TV+.

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