Documentary “Back to Space”: Space Travel with a SpaceX Feeling

Lots of praise for SpaceX, little criticism of NASA

On the other hand, rival Boeing Aircraft and Space is making no progress. His spacecraft, the CST-100 Starliner, was originally scheduled to take off for the first time in 2015. But nothing came of it. Technical problems continued to delay the launch. During the first unmanned test flight in December 2019, massive software bugs surfaced and the capsule was unable to dock with the International Space Station. In flight, Boeing installed a software update that enabled at least one successful return to Earth. Then NASA ordered a second unmanned test flight, which is currently scheduled for May 2022 after new delays.

However, the documentation hardly indicates this. It is largely limited to highlighting the decidedly exciting career of SpaceX and its management staff.

The authors refrained from making their own comments and only allowed the participants to speak. Expected impact: Everyone stresses how wonderful it is to work together, how excited they are in moving the program forward and how much their families support them. We witness a warm welcome to astronauts on the International Space Station and let us show us some of the details of life in space. Finally, we can follow how the space capsule landed in the water after a picture-perfect flight.

It was done in an exciting way, but unfortunately viewers do not get any technical details in the documentary. How is the dragon capsule built? How many astronauts can it carry? What makes it different from the Apollo capsule or the CST-100 Starliner? Why haven’t space shuttles been further developed in their 30 years of operation, and why have subsequent programs failed? More criticism of NASA, which has become bureaucratic frozen over the years, would have been appropriate.

Kind of a long promotional video for SpaceX

The directors are Jimmy Chin and Elizabeth Chai Vasarhelyi. The couple won the 2019 Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature for “Free Solo,” which is about free climber Alex Honnold. As aviation professionals, they have not yet caught any attention. Nor do they excel in “return to space”.

Most videos should look familiar to those interested in space travel; They came from the archives of NASA or SpaceX. Many of them have long become icons, like the launch of Saturn 5, the landing of Falcon 9, and the destruction of the Space Shuttle. The interviews with the astronauts, Hans Koenigsmann, Gwen Shotwell and some of the other participants only appear to have been conducted specifically for documentation.

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