NASA astronauts have celebrated the ultimate movie night, as the crew of the International Space Station settled down to watch Star Wars: The Last Jedi.
So many of the world's astronauts were inspired by science fiction. That's why it hardly seems fair to Disney and NASA for the crew of the ISS to miss out on the latest Star Wars film. Earlier this month, they confirmed that they were transmitting a digital copy of The Last Jedi to the ISS. It seems to be becoming a tradition; in 2015, astronauts also watched The Force Awakens on the space station.
Astronaut Mark T. Vandei Hei has confirmed that the screening has now happened. Taking to Twitter, he revealed that the astronauts no longer need to fear spoilers. While the tweet doesn't confirm which film the crew are watching, it's not hard to recognize the distinctive uniform. This is clearly an early sequence from The Last Jedi.
Space Station movie night, complete with “bungee cord chairs”, drink bags, and a science fiction flick! pic.twitter.com/IPZ2thI8rw— Mark T. Vande Hei (@Astro_Sabot) December 24, 2017
The ISS is surely the ultimate movie theater. Back in 2009, astronaut Michael Barratt had to create a makeshift cinema using his laptop in order to watch Star Trek. By April 2015, NASA had actually installed an HDTV projector. Appropriately enough for watching sci-fi films, the theater is of course zero-gravity. The Last Jedi has now joined a select group of movies that have been watched in this most exclusive of theaters, one maintaining an orbit of between 330 and 435km above the Earth.
Last year, Gizmodo submitted a freedom of information request to obtain a list of movies and TV shows that have been watched on the ISS. Needless to say, there were a healthy number of science fiction films among the list. Space-themed movies include Moon, Alien, and 2001: A Space Odyssey. In September 2015, the crew were treated to an advance screening of The Martian. It was evidently popular enough that NASA and Fox arranged a repeat viewing in December that year. The December viewing apparently included never-before-seen content, meaning the experience was surely out of this world.
But the crew of the ISS clearly have broader tastes than just science fiction. Other films that have been watched on the space station include 12 Years A Slave, Airplane, Scott Pilgrim vs the World, and The Dark Knight. There have also been a number of classics, such as The Bridge on the River Kwai and all three Godfather films. TV fans will be delighted to hear that the crew have watched such popular shows as 24 and House of Cards.
The Last Jedi was an unusual chapter in the Star Wars saga. For one thing, so much of the storyline technically did happen in space since a major plot was a space pursuit. Given that's the case, it's certainly appropriate that this film wound up being watched in orbit.
Source: Mark T. Vande Hei
- Solo: A Star Wars Story (2018) release date: May 25, 2018
- Star Wars 9 / Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker (2019) release date: Dec 20, 2019
- Star Wars 8/Star Wars: The Last Jedi (2017) release date: Dec 15, 2017