June 1, 2020

NASA working with Tom Cruise to film movie on the International Space Station


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Tom Cruise in “Top Gun: Maverick.” Credit: Paramount Pictures

NASA said Tuesday it is working with Tom Cruise to film a movie on the International Space Station, but details on the arrangements are scarce.

The news that Cruise was in talks with to shoot an action-adventure film on the space station was first reported Monday by Deadline, which said the actor is working with SpaceX on the project.

NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine tweeted Tuesday that the agency is “excited to work Tom Cruise on a film aboard the space station. We need popular media to inspire a new generation of engineers and scientists to make NASA’s ambitious plans a reality.”

Cruise, the 57-year-old star of Top Gun and the Mission: Impossible film franchise, has performed daring stunts before. NASA did not confirm Tuesday whether Cruise would himself fly to the space station as part of the film.

SpaceX has not confirmed its role in the film project, but Cruise could fly to the space station on the company’s Crew Dragon spaceship. The Crew Dragon is designed to carry up to four people to and from low Earth orbit, potentially room enough for Cruise, a small film crew and a professional astronaut in command.

Elon Musk, SpaceX’s founder and CEO, tweeted Tuesday: “Should be a lot of fun!”

NASA last year said it would enable private astronauts to spend up to 30 days on the International Space Station. The paying passengers would fly to the station on SpaceX’s Crew Dragon spacecraft or Boeing’s CST-100 Starliner crew capsule, the two human-rated spaceships developed by U.S. industry in partnership with NASA.

Private companies would pay for access to the orbiting research outpost, and the commercial companies would be responsible for funding the flight’s launch and trip to the space station.

The International Space Station viewed in 2018 from a departing Soyuz spacecraft. Credit: NASA/Roscosmos

Earlier this year, the space tourism company Space Adventures — which arranged the flight of Garriott and other wealthy passengers to the station on Russian spacecraft — announced an agreement with SpaceX to fly paying passengers on a Crew Dragon spacecraft without going to the space station. Instead, the Crew Dragon contracted by Space Adventures will fly on its own in Earth orbit, reaching altitudes hundreds of miles above the space station to provide passengers a more expansive view of Earth.

Axiom Space said in March that it signed a contract with SpaceX to ferry a professional astronaut and three paying passengers to the International Space Station as soon as next year.

Deadline reported Monday that the film project is “real” but in the “early stages” of development. No studio is attached yet to the film, Deadline reported.

Cruise narrated the 2002 IMAX documentary film Space Station 3D, which was filmed by astronauts during the assembly of the International Space Station. A short science fiction film named Apogee of Fear was filmed on the space station in 2008 by Richard Garriott, who paid for his trip to orbit on a Russian Soyuz spacecraft.

But celebrity spaceflights and past plans for filmmaking projects in orbit have faltered before reaching the launch pad.

Singer Lance Bass of NSYNC began training to fly on a Soyuz mission to the space station in 2002, but his sponsorships fell through. A Russian actor hoped to fly to the Russian space station Mir in 2000, but the project collapsed due to lack of funds.

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Follow Stephen Clark on Twitter: @StephenClark1.


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