back in space the directors and cast reveal how they captured a new perspective on the billionaire space race.
Man has always been fascinated by space. The unknown limits and interstellar beauty surpass anything we have here on Earth, and the filmmakers have done their best to emulate the vastness of space through film and television.
Right now we find ourselves at the crossroads of space travel and cinema, almost a new type of space race that finds Elon Musk in the realm of the private space industry. The entertainment industry has entered low Earth orbit, and it’s about to stay whether veteran astronauts like it or not. Netflix’s latest space project, back in spacereflects the streamer’s continued investment in the new space age, and it’s the second Netflix show produced in partnership with Musk’s SpaceX.
back in space is directed by Oscar winner Elizabeth Chai Vasarhelyi and Jimmy Chin and follows the preparation for the first crewed mission of Musk’s SpaceX-designed Dragon spacecraft through the lens of Musk’s entrepreneurial drive to dominate the field. The documentary follows the tolls on the lives of veteran astronauts and the events that unfold against the stunning range of NASA-approved footage of the flights, which includes spacewalks on the ISS loaded with first-person views breathtaking planet against the vast darkness of the universe.
Although the film revolves around Musk, the filmmakers don’t treat him like a god. Instead, they assemble a gripping tension around flights, reinforcing the dangers and risks of space travel.
It’s not the first space project to offer a streaming service. Amazon Prime livestreamed the launch of Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin in March this year, which made William Shatner the first American movie star in space, and a Russian film production launched into orbit last year to film parts of their movie at the International Space Station. Tom Cruise and director Doug Liman still hope to follow that path with a Universal project that remains on the back burner.
Back in space’Musk’s dedication to framing Musk’s unexpected ability to win a contract with NASA despite his controversial reputation provides broader insight into the public’s conflicting feelings about the tech entrepreneur. As the film tackles Musk’s eccentric public antics, from smoking weed with Joe Rogan to tweeting about Tesla coming out of nowhere, it also welcomes contrast to perceptions of the “billionaire space race.” who cohabited around Musk, Virgin Galactic by Richard Branson and Bezos. ‘ Blue Origin looking at the big picture.
“The general public doesn’t really understand it,” director Vasarhelyi said in an interview with IndieWire.. “Billionaires in space is an old story.”
Vasarhelyi did not address Musk’s lack of space travel, as the focus is not on being in space. Instead, Vasarhelyi emphasizes people willing to put their lives on the line – by back in space, that is, the astronauts themselves. Even though the Dragon capsule is much safer than its predecessors, a single misstep could result in the instant death of anyone on board.
“A lot of people take for granted how dangerous space travel is,” Chin said. “I mean, strap two rockets together with thousands of tons of rocket propellant for yourself – the lives of these astronauts are literally in the hands of scientists.”
It’s only a matter of time before elite members of our society start taking trips to low Earth orbit, but astronaut Karen Nyberg warns of an influx of non-professional astronauts taking trips dangerous to experience life in weightlessness. She said, “You have frustrating and good days up there. We really learned expeditionary behavior to control our own emotions and help our teammates when they’re going through a tough time. It might become a challenge when you have more people in the space who don’t think that way.
For now, low Earth orbit is reserved for the wealthy and NASA, but change is coming. Eventually, filmmakers will have access to a space to create films that take place in a place that most of us may never have the chance to see. It’s amazing to think about, but is the risk worth it?
You can stream back in space on Netflix now.
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