On July 26th, 2018 VSS Unity completed its third rocket-powered test flight, a key step forward the path to space. Julia Hunter, Virgin Galactic Vice President and longtime employee, gives us a behind-the-scenes look into her life as a program leader, astrophysics scholar and space mom working to realize a longtime dream of opening commercial spaceflight to citizens and science. Join Julia as she narrates a key test flight that surpassed 170,800 feet, reaching Mach 2.47. VSS Unity was piloted by Dave Mackay and Mike “Sooch” Masucci, with pilots Kelly Latimer and Todd Ericson in carrier aircraft VMS Eve.
** SpaceX – Falcon 9 launches satellite for Indonesia and booster makes bulls-eye landing on sea platform:
The First is a new Hulu original series starring Sean Penn about the first human mission to Mars. It will premier on September 14th. Here is the trailer:
From the caption:
The First is created by Beau Willimon (House of Cards) and stars Sean Penn. Set in the near future (2030), this groundbreaking story explores the challenges of taking the first steps towards Mars. Viewers will get an intimate look at the dedicated characters trying to reach the unknown while dealing with the psychological and physical toll it takes to achieve the impossible.
July 20, 2019 will be the 50th anniversary of the first time a human set foot on another celestial body. A start on the coming year of tributes and remembrances will be the movie First Man, starring Ryan Gosling as Neil Armstrong. It is currently set to open on October 12th. Here is a trailer:
From the caption:
On the heels of their six-time Academy Award®-winning smash, La La Land, Oscar®-winning director Damien Chazelle and star Ryan Gosling reteam for Universal Pictures’ First Man, the riveting story of NASA’s mission to land a man on the moon, focusing on Neil Armstrong and the years 1961-1969. A visceral, first-person account, based on the book by James R. Hansen, the movie will explore the sacrifices and the cost—on Armstrong and on the nation—of one of the most dangerous missions in history.
Written by Academy Award® winner Josh Singer (Spotlight), the drama is produced by Wyck Godfrey & Marty Bowen (The Twilight Saga, The Fault in Our Stars) through their Temple Hill Entertainment banner, alongside Chazelle and Gosling. Isaac Klausner (The Fault in Our Stars) executive produces. DreamWorks Pictures co-finances the film.
Solar Sci-Fi (i.e. hard science fiction involving near-term scenarios within our solar system) has gone big time in the past few years with the major financial successes of the films Gravity and The Martian. The TV series The Expanse, which depicts conflicts among settlers of Mars, the Asteroid Belt, and Earth, has lasted 3 seasons on the SyFy Channel and will now continue on Amazon Prime:
Set in the 2030s, the eight-episode first season is mainly set on Earth as the astronauts prepare for the journey to the red planet and NASA forms a partnership with a private company to support the trip.
The new documentary film In Saturn’s Rings, narrated by LeVar Burton, shows striking scenes of space travel and exploration using only actual images observed with telescopes, space probes, and astronaut cameras. No computer generated artists’ creations are included but techniques developed by Ken Burns and Walt Disney give 3-D impressions of objects like Saturn and its rings. The super high-resolution film will be available on “Giant Screen, IMAX, Fulldome Planetariums“. Check out the trailer for the film:
From the caption:
In Saturn’s Rings is a groundbreaking giant-screen movie adventure that takes audiences on a space exploration journey of the mind, heart, and spirit, from the Big Bang to the awe-inspiring rings of Saturn.
Narrated by LeVar Burton, In Saturn’s Rings is created entirely of more than 7.5 million stunning images of Earth, the Milky Way, and the Saturn taken by Hubble, Cassini, and other NASA space telescopes looking deep into the past.
The film is made with 2D multiplane parallax techniques developed by Walt Disney combined with Ken Burns technique to avoid using any type of camera projection, 3D models, visual FX, texture maps etc. We also feature some high resolution time lapse photography.
Visit insaturnsrings.com to learn more about how this film was made, screening and release info and more.
Trailer music is custom version of track from Neumann Films.
The Artist Depiction Indiegogo crowdfunding campaign seeks support for a three part documentary series about the history of space art at NASA:
Artist Depiction is a documentary series about artists who have helped bring NASA projects to life. Their incredible artwork is ubiquitous, and yet these artists have been behind the scenes until now. We seek to give a voice to these artists: Don Davis, Charles Lindsay, and Rick Guidice. These oral histories will be lost to time without a series like this.
Why is the work of these NASA artists important in 2018? [Director Brett Ryan Bonowicz] explains that not only are these old space colony images still being used today to represent “the future,” they’ve also inspired so many of the designers that would come after them.
“Neill Blomkamp and Elysium. Christopher Nolan and Interstellar. Almost every day of our [crowdfunding] campaign someone mentions how ‘that artwork looks like Halo man.’” Bonowicz told me over email.
“It’s important to have these first-hand accounts from the artists that were depicting Gerard O’Neill’s original ideas about these colonies. Without these films those accounts are lost.”