In recognition of National Space Day, we're pleased to present WHEN WE WERE SHUTTLE, a new 2-hour documentary looking back at the thirty years of the Shuttle program. At a time when both NASA and private companies are pushing to make space travel more cost-effective, reliable and ultimately more routine, the first-person accounts of Shuttle veterans from the Kennedy Space Center provide perspective on what our space goals should be and the best way to achieve them.
There is some disagreement about whether the Space Shuttle, as the world’s first reusable spacecraft, was truly a success story. WHEN WE WERE SHUTTLE will get to the core of its legacy by tapping into the humanity behind the Shuttle Program–hearing directly from some of the exceptional men and women who worked behind-the-scenes to make it fly. What in their opinions made the Program special? Why was it necessary? How did their involvement with Shuttle impact their lives, their families and the greater community around them?
Through recollections and personal archive, the film reveals their fondest memories and darkest hours: from the launching and repair of the Hubble Space Telescope and the construction of the International Space Station to the loss of Shuttles Challenger and Columbia in accidents that were ultimately seen as avoidable, and in many ways served as the impetus for the fleet’s early retirement.
For all its flaws, one of the greatest takeaways of the Shuttle Program is its attempt to be a great equalizer–both in space and on the ground. The Astronaut Corps during the Shuttle years was intentionally more reflective of America at large, more diverse in race, gender, cultural and professional backgrounds. During the Shuttle years, both NASA and its contractors also made attempts to increase the number of women and minorities in its ranks, from blue-collar and administrative positions to ones in management and leadership.
ALSO FOR SPACE DAY!
On Friday, May 5 at 8:30pm we present an encore of our documentary Missile to Moon. Missile to Moon tracks the evolution of Huntsville from "Watercress Capitol of the World" to "Rocket City, USA" and Wernher von Braun's journey from German Missile Engineer to American Hero and the role this unlikely combination played in the history of space exploration.
DISCOVERING ALABAMA presents "Alabama in Space" on Sunday, May 7 at 11:30am. Doug Phillips explores how space travel has given us new a perspective on our planet - and new knowledge about it. See what satellites in space can tell us that we can't understand without them, and learn about Alabama's role in space exploration today.
REACHING NEW HEIGHTS
Russellville's Rocket Program
In 2015, the Russellville City School Engineering Team became world rocketry champions. Follow the team as they develop and test new rocket designs, participate in the NASA Student Launch competition, and even go to the White House for Astronomy Night - it's the story of the ups and downs of a year filled with drive to surpass their earlier success and the camaraderie that pressure creates.
MISSION CONTROL: HUMAN SPACE FLIGHT
Recorded live at the U.S. Space and Rocket Center in Huntsville, this unique journey will give students a window into some of the nation’s most prominent space institutions such as the U.S. Space & Rocket Center (USSRC), NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center, Johnson and Kennedy Space Centers, as well as the International Space Station.