Tom Cruise has booked a ride on SpaceX’s Crew Dragon for a film project that is part of a partnership between NASA, SpaceX, and Universal Studios. The project will be directed by Edge of Tomorrow director Doug Liman, who also plans to ride along. The trip is currently scheduled to take place in October 2021.
Cruise and Liman will travel to the International Space Station to take advantage of the microgravity environment for filming. Current techniques for simulating microgravity for movies have been criticized as unrealistic or have to make use of techniques that only provide “weightlessness” for a few seconds at a time.
Universal Studios plans to provide $200 million in funding for the project, a currently-untitled action-adventure movie that takes place in outer space. NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine Tweeted of the collaboration:
“NASA is excited to work with @TomCruise 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.”
Crew Dragon Now Officially Operational
SpaceX’s Crew Dragon saw its first successful crewed mission earlier this year, when it launched astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley to the International Space Station in May and landed in August. Following its normal procedure of reusing hardware, it plans to refurbish the already-flown Crew Dragon for reuse as early as May 2021.
With the successful test flight, the Crew Dragon is officially considered operational. SpaceX and NASA are scheduled to launch astronauts Soichi Noguchi, Michael S. Hopkins, Victor J. Glover, and Shannon Walker in the first operational flight of the Crew Dragon on October 22.
Increasing Interest in Producing Media in Space
Due to the difficulties in simulating weightlessness on Earth outside of NASA’s giant training pools and potentially nausea-inducing parabolic arcs on specially designed jet planes, media companies and entertainers are showing an increased interest in going into space. Lady Gaga has indicated interest in performing the first concert in outer space on Virgin Galactic’s spacecraft once it becomes fully operational. A production company known as Space Hero, Inc., also has plans to produce a reality TV show in which contestants compete for a slot on the Crew Dragon to travel to the International Space Station. Japanese fashion mogul Yusaku Maezawa has expressed interest in flying himself and a few lucky artists around the Moon on an upgraded version of the Crew Dragon.
Most recently, Apollo-era astronauts have won Emmys for their photography and videography while on the Moon. Several astronauts have opined that poets may have a place among the ranks of astronauts and astronauts like Alan Bean and Michael Collins have turned to painting as a way to better represent what they saw in space.
Tom Cruise may simply become the first actor to produce an actual film on the International Space Station.