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'Return to Space' trailer blasts off with SpaceX astronauts on first crewed launch

Free Solo filmmakers delving into the two-decade-long effort to get a manned commercial space flight off the ground. 

By Vanessa Armstrong
Return To Space

The upcoming Netflix documentary feature Return to Space is coming to the streamer in early April, and we’ve got our first official trailer showcasing SpaceX CEO Elon Musk’s 20-year journey to get American astronauts out of Earth’s atmosphere. 

The feature, which comes from Oscar-winning directors Elizabeth Chai Vasarhelyi and Jimmy Chin (Free Solo, The Rescue), promises to provide rare access into the first crewed mission launched from U.S. soil since the retirement of the Space Shuttle in 2011. 

Check out the trailer here:

The trailer has a lot of Musk in it, with him talking about his vision to set up a moon base and have humanity leave the cradle of Earth in the near future, ultimately by colonizing Mars via spaceports. According to Netflix’s official synopsis, however, the feature will also focus on former NASA astronauts Bob Behnken, Doug Hurley, and their families in the lead up to the May 2020 launch to the International Space Station.

It will be interesting to see how Vasarhelyi and Chin approach telling the story of that historical SpaceX flight. Musk has been advocating for commercial space flight for years, and Behnken’s and Hurley’s journey on board the Crew Dragon — the name of SpaceX’s spacecraft — marks arguably the first substantive step in that direction. 

Commercial spaceflight — especially for those who aren’t billionaires or former NASA astronauts — still is a pie-in-the-sky dream. Perhaps Return to Space, however, will give us regular folk a glimpse of what journeying into the final frontier actually looks like. 

Return to Space will blast off on Netflix on April 7, 2022.