American video-game developer Richard Garriott wasn’t the first space tourist when he travelled to the International Space Station in October, 2008. But he was the first one to make a movie while being there. He was supposed to make a documentary of his trip (which he did, under the title of Man on a Mission), but not to record a short fiction movie involving three of the astronauts. The fact is that the film, named Apogee of Fear, is finished and ready for release, but NASA has blocked its distribution.
It’s not exactly a case of censorship, as it doesn’t seem that the images show any government secrets. “Nasa has, so far, decided that since its filmed onboard Nasa hardware and uses Nasa astronauts as actors, that they have resisted me releasing it publicly,” says Garriott. The plot of the film is rather harmless: it starts with the departure of Garriott from the International Space Station. The three astronauts who stay behind express their relief for the departure, as they were tired of Richard’s conversations. But they soon discover there is a problem: the oxygen use within the Station is higher than usual, which leads them to think there is someone else at the spaceship. The ending, which I won’t reveal, keeps a playful, inoffensive attitude.
The script was asked to Tracy Hickman, one of the creators of the Dragonlance saga, while Richard Garriott himself is well-known among the video-game players as the creator of the Ultima series. In any case, the story might have a happy ending soon, as NASA has recently told Wired its intention of reaching an agreement with Garriott so the film can be publicly distributed.
Picture Source: Space Yuga