Fight for Space | Chicago Reader

Fight for Space

93 minutes 2016

Not really a documentary, this is more like an advocacy film for the U.S. space program, arguing that NASA needs a giant budget increase and a more adventurous mission. An assortment of colorful speakers—astronauts Jim Lovell and Story Musgrave, TV science nerds Bill Nye and Neil deGrasse Tyson—lay out a history of the program, heavy on the stirring JFK footage. As some of them concede, though, the lofty rhetoric of the space race began to dissipate once we'd beaten the Soviets to the moon, and on-the-street interviews reveal that few people now understand the mission of the International Space Station. The movie is interesting for its survey of the post-Apollo political landscape and space bureaucracy (including the impact of the Challenger and Columbia disasters) and intriguing for its ideas about commercial R&D and public-private partnerships in space. But for all the speakers' intellectual bullying, none of them can articulate a modern space agenda that doesn't sound like the spoken-word intro to Star Trek. Paul J. Hildebrandt directed.

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