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"GRAVITY" is Almost Here
by Launchspace Staff
Bethesda MD (SPX) Sep 26, 2013

This film exposes a building critical space issue.

Hollywood is about to do it again. Imagery imitates a future reality. The new film, "Gravity" is about to be released. This is a 2013 American 3D film starring Sandra Bullock and George Clooney as surviving astronauts in a damaged space shuttle.

According to film critics, this sci-fi survival drama is a technical and visual achievement. Gravity starts as a casual space stroll between Dr. Ryan Stone (Sandra Bullock) and Matt Kowalsky (George Clooney), but soon becomes a series of unfortunate events in a weightless environment.

Those of us who are space engineers and "rocket scientists' can appreciate the challenges of surviving a catastrophic debris hit in near-Earth orbit. You are tumbling out of control without any frame of reference. Without a propulsion system to assist, the outcome is almost certainly fatal.

Not unexpectedly, some critics complained about a lack of good character development and panned the movie. However, for us true space cadets, character development is optional, and sometimes just gets in the way of a good action, adventure, thriller.

We don't want chic-flicks, just give us clashing, crashing, blood and guts in space. The more, the better. How dare Hollywood waste time on an astronaut's background. Give us action, and not drool.

On a serious note, this film exposes a building critical space issue. Orbital debris is a growing problem that has been shoved under the "rug." Ask any government agency what is being done about this growing challenge and the usual answer is that this is manageable. This is only part of the answer.

Debris is currently not a catastrophic issue, but everyone working in the field knows that it is only matter of time before devastating collisions will eliminate the use of an important portion of near-Earth space. Think of Gravity as a warning shot across our payload fairing.


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