NASA backs down, allows film shot in space to be released after all

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Dec 16, 2012

Earlier this week we heard about space tourist Richard Garriott's efforts to get an 8-minute sci-fi flick he shot on board the International Space Station released to the public, and NASA's efforts to keep it under wraps. Now, after a few days in the spotlight, it seems like the flick might see the light of day after all.

Garriott made Apogee of Fear—the story of three astronauts who discover an alien presence on their space station—while on the ISS back in 2008. He based the flick on a screenplay by Dragonlance writer Tracy Hickman and used American astronauts Mike Fincke and Greg Chamitoff and Russian cosmonaut Yuri Lonchakov as actors.

Garriott wanted to release the film as a companion to Man on a Mission, the documentary about his trip released last week, but "since it's filmed onboard NASA hardware and uses NASA astronauts as actors, they have resisted me releasing it publicly." The space agency wouldn't allow it.

Now, after a few days of coverage, it seems they've changed their tune.

"NASA is working with Richard Garriott to facilitate the video's release. While the project was not part of his original Space Act agreement with NASA, everyone involved had the best of intentions," NASA's deputy of communications Bob Jacobs told Wired. "We hope to resolve the remaining issues expeditiously, and we appreciate Richard's cooperation and his ongoing efforts to get people excited about the future of space exploration."

We don't know what those "remaining issues" are, but NASA certainly seems to be putting the right wheels in motion so we can see this movie. Even if turns out to be terrible, it's the first piece of fiction ever filmed in orbit, and that's got some serious historic value. We don't know how or when Apogee of Fear will see release yet, but we're already waiting for our turn to see it.

(via Wired)