On the Way to the Stars
Running Time: 57 minutes 30 seconds
This film highlights the ten flights of the Space Shuttle Challenger. It was released on the first anniversary of the Challenger accident and shown several times on television in Southern California and was a regular feature at the California Museum of Science and Industry. The film was also picked up by the NASA Johnson Space Center to be shown to visitors.
The production is broken down into four primary segments.
1. STS-6, STS-7. STS-8
This covers the first three flights of Challenger and are considered the test flight phase. This segment also covers the first spacewalk done in the shuttle era of the United States' space program and the first women astronaut launched by America, Sally Ride.
2. STS-41B, STS-41C, STS-41G
The first ever flights by the Manned Maneuvering Unit are highlighted in this segment. This rocket backpack was the first time that an astronaut flew in space without being attached to the mother spacecraft. This sequence also includes the first on-orbit repairs of satellites.
3. STS-51B, STS-51F, STS-61A
Challenger flew three major science research flights using the Spacelab module built by the European Space Agency. These flights and their experiments are shown during this segment. Also included is the infamous flight of the first Toys in Space.
This is the final flight of Challenger. We see the seven astronauts preparing for flight and the first 73 seconds of the ill-fated mission. The destruction of Challenger is not shown in this film. It is dedicated to the memories of the astronauts who gave their lives to further the exploration of space and the special teacher who was there to show the children what their futures could hold.
STS-26: America's Return to Flight
Running Time: 25 minutes
Nearly three years after the Challenger accident, the United States finally returned humans to space aboard the Space Shuttle Discovery.
This film highlights that inspiring mission and the tribute paid by the astronauts of Discovery to their fallen colleagues aboard Challenger.
America's Return to Flight is not just a somber reminder of a tragedy in the past, but also features some of the funniest footage to come out of America's space program. Legendary crew wake-up calls were recorded by Robin Williams (Good Morning, Discovery), as well as send ups on Green Acres and the Beach Boys.
We also see life aboard the Space Shuttle that includes an M&M shooting contest and what an astronaut has to hide away in the huge pockets of his flight suit.
Apollo 11: First Steps
Running Time: 23 minutes
This film contains one of the most unique launch sequences ever compiled for viewing. The launch of a Saturn V is one of the most majestic events to be created by the technology of humankind.
Following the launch we follow the crew of Apollo 11 rendezvous and dock with their Lunar Module Eagle, as they fly to the Moon, and as Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin set our first footprints upon its gray, dusty surface. The flag is planted in the airless void and we listen to the famous long distance call from President Nixon.
Along the route we also hear the words of President John F. Kennedy as he commits America to this most daring voyage of discovery and we learn what it will take to accomplish this enterprise of sending men to the Moon and returning them safely to the Earth.
Voyager Outer Planets Tour: 1979-1989
Running Time: 28 minutes
In 1977, twin Voyager spacecraft were launched from Earth to explore Jupiter and Saturn, and their retinue of moons. The first encounters with Jupiter occurred in 1979, but didn't stop until over ten years later when Voyager 2 sailed past the outermost gas giant planet Neptune.
Originally only scheduled for the two planetary encounters, one Voyager is able to be retargeted to Uranus and Neptune. The amazing feat is that it survives to accomplish this task and so much more.
Both Voyager spacecraft are still sending data back to scientists on Earth nearly 30 years after they were first launched.
Voyager and Galileo
Running Time: 24 minutes
The famous computer-generated films we are so familiar with today in theaters had their start many decades ago with scientists who were using the technology to envision what they might find along the route of Voyager.
The idea was to use these films to help map out the encounters where seconds were precious commodities.
Amazingly realistic in their portrayals of the outer planets that Voyager would encounter, these films were groundbreaking in the art of computer-generated imagery.
An added bonus is the launch of Galileo to Jupiter aboard the Space Shuttle Atlantis, and the expected tour it would take once it arrived in Jupiter space several years later.
Both of these breakthrough missions are history now. These films recapture the excitement of seeing the outer planets in fine detail for the first time in human history.
The Unforgettable Experience
Running Time: 16 minutes
On July 11, 1991, North America experienced it's last total solar eclipse of the 20th Century.
Not only was this a spectacular event for the Western Hemisphere, but it was also nearly the longest duration an eclipse can ever be at nearly seven full minutes of totality. The eclipse tract started west of Hawaii and quickly spread eastward, touching land at the tip of Baja California before continuing onto the Mexican mainland and beyond.
Filmed primarily as a travelogue of the event from Cabo San Lucas, Baja California, the spectacle is seen through the eyes of those who were there to experience it first hand.
If you have never seen a total solar eclipse, this film is a small but exciting substitute for not being there in person. Whenever the opportunity arrives, a total solar eclipse is not to be missed.