If you haven’t heard of this little film, I highly recommend it. It was directed by Mike Woolf. I do not expect you will see in in a theater near you. Please add it to your NetFlix queue to encourage NetFlix to pick it up for distribution. My favorite parts of this film were getting to see inside the Russian space program. The Космонавт traditions were fascinating such as letting them pee on the bus tires before boarding the rocket.
It was also interesting to see the differences between our program and theirs. The Russians are really good at getting things done. For example NASA uses a Crawler to transport the full assembled rocket from the Vehicle Assembly Building (VAB) to the launch pad. This massive tractor is incredible in scale in every way. It carried the fully assembled and loaded Saturn V rockets as well as the Space Shuttles to the Pad. It keeps itself level even when climbing up the hill. The Russians opted for a much more simple solution: they use a train. The move their rocket to the pad on a train and raise it into position only once it has reached the launch pad.
Naturally the film includes a launch sequence as well as an explanation of how the Russian rocket system works which is quite different from what we are used to seeing in our rockets.
Here is the summary from the NetFlix page.
Fulfilling a lifelong dream, computer game creator Richard Garriott becomes the first second-generation American astronaut as his $30 million ticket and secret Moscow training puts him aboard the Russian Soyuz rocket for a 12-day journey into space. Go along on his amazing ride as he orbits Earth on the International Space Station, performs experiments designed by his scientist-astronaut father, and returns with a harrowing and fiery re-entry.
Present at the screening in addition to Lord British was Mike Fincke along with his wife, Renita Fincke and kids. Mike Fincke has been to the International Space Station (ISS) twice although both time on Soyuz rockets. He will return again this Summer on one of the last Space Shuttle launches. An interesting thing about Mike Fincke is that he once had a bit part in the final episode of Enterprise, These Are the Voyages…, playing an Engineer.