Return To Space 'LINK'
Return to Space is an American documentary film made for Netflix and directed by Jimmy Chin and Elizabeth Chai Vasarhelyi. Its story follows Elon Musk's and SpaceX engineers' two-decade mission to send NASA astronauts back to the International Space Station and revolutionize space travel. The film was released on April 7, 2022.
Return to Space
On October 29, 1998, John Glenn launched on his second spaceflight. That, by itself, was not unusual. By then US astronauts had flown multiple times in space. John Young and Franklin Chang-Diaz already held a record at six space flights each.
What is the story behind this long hiatus? Rumor has it that neither NASA nor President Kennedy wanted to put Glenn at risk again after his first flight. In the Space Race, he had become more valuable to the nation as a hero and goodwill ambassador than as a career astronaut. Glenn, a US Marine aviator, aeronautical engineer, and test pilot, itched to fly again, but he had no more spaceflight assignments after his five-hour, three-orbit Mercury mission put him in the headlines and history books.
Restless and ambitious, Glenn left NASA in 1964, spent some time as a business executive, and then campaigned for a US Senate seat from his home state, Ohio. First elected in 1974, he served four terms until his retirement in January 1999. As a Senator, Glenn advocated for space exploration, science, and education, and he chaired the Government Affairs Committee for most of his tenure. He also maintained close ties with NASA and made known his desire to fly in space again.
Involving him in such experiments gave NASA a plausible reason to assign John Glenn as a payload specialist on the STS-95 SPACEHAB mission, which was loaded with life science and microgravity experiments. Glenn trained with the prime crew and received good reviews for his work ethic and affability; he took his role in the mission seriously and was unpretentious about his celebrity. In orbit, he gamely took his turn with meal preparation and housekeeping chores but kept his attention focused on the science. This time he spent almost nine days and 134 orbits in space.
John Glenn demonstrated his commitment to space exploration one more time by speaking at the Welcome, Discovery ceremony when NASA delivered Discovery to the Museum in 2012. He lauded the achievements of the Space Shuttle era, disagreed with the early retirement of the shuttle fleet, and spoke about a future in space that might include humans on Mars.
Parents need to know that Return to Space is a documentary that looks at the role of SpaceX, the Elon Musk-owned company that has helped jumpstart the return to space by American astronauts. References include loss of lives on space missions and possible world war. Images include the Space Shuttle Challenger explosion in 1986 archival footage, remains of crew belongings, bottles and glasses of champagne, and marijuana smoking. Language includes "f--k," "f--king," "hell," and "s--t." The film's positive messages include generating innovative goals through new ideas and taking steps to secure a better future.
In RETURN TO SPACE, entrepreneur Elon Musk and a diverse team of SpaceX astronauts, engineers, and support crew take on trailblazing paths to restore American and global space activity. The film also offers key team professional and personal portraits, including the required skills to survive and succeed at the International Space Station.
Oscar-winning directors Elizabeth Chai Vasarhelyi and Jimmy Chin (Free Solo) soar in this shining documentary about the next generation of space exploration. "Before starting SpaceX," says co-founder and chief engineer Elon Musk in Return to Space, "I was waiting for NASA to send people up to Mars [and] here we are a half century later, and we still have not gone back to the Moon." Through good fortune, entrepreneur Musk and his space crew launch a return to the International Space Station. "I believe that luck is the best superpower," notes Musk, who is also a Spaceballs movie fan. "If you can have any superpowers, luck is the one you'd want." And recalls Anna Menon, a SpaceX mission control specialist who had the fortuitous chance to visit NASA as a fourth grader, "from that time on, I knew I wanted to be a part of space operations." Return to Space inspirationally sets in motion promising career choices for kids and teens who want to aim for the stars.
NATO has experience embedding space-based tools into terrestrial, maritime, and airpower exercises. However, NATO has yet to build space-specific exercises to signal allied resolve. This may be deliberate, stemming from an assumption that future conflict in outer space would be inextricably linked to Earth-based competition. Even if this assumption is true, it does not absolve NATO from the need to answer questions about potential allied resolve in bringing force to bear against those who interfere with space operations. Clearly, NATO recognizes the benefits of space systems and has considered how to integrate these vital capabilities into security operations. However, without a declaratory policy, it is impossible to gauge how far (if at all) NATO is willing to go to protect key space systems.
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg briefly outlined types of cooperation supported by the new policy, notably that alliance members can expect streamlined sharing arrangements for space-based services like encrypted communications and remote sensing. By promoting cooperation, the NATO policy leverages the collective allied portfolio of space-based technologies to supplement lost capabilities and negate adversarial interference with space systems. Many NATO members are undeniably proficient in space technology and can contribute to sharing agreements. NATO members other than the United States have nearly tripled the number of satellites in orbit in the past decade. The increase in satellites improves the potential for sharing unique data and capabilities, and also builds beneficial redundant layers within the NATO space ecosystem. These redundancies help bridge the gap between growing military reliance on satellites and the inherent fragility of space objects. Reducing barriers to sharing space systems and data might also encourage allies to discuss strategic investments to address any gaps.
At the highest level, NATO has an opportunity to blanket allied space assets with Article 5 protections. Article 6 of the NATO Charter clarifies that the alliance may only invoke collective defense in response to attacks on territory or vessels operating north of the Tropic of Cancer. The geographic limits imposed by the NATO Charter are incongruent with outer space. Revising this language to specifically include satellites, independent of their location above the Earth, would support collective defense. Attacks, harassment, or interference with space objects anywhere in orbit could degrade NATO capabilities in a transatlantic theater. Expanding the parameters of Article 6 would send strong signals to adversaries that threats to space-based assets will not be tolerated.
While this would be an unambiguous and security-reinforcing progression, the recent history of decision-making in Brussels suggests that such an amendment might require an immense political capital investment by those states most interested in protecting space-based assets. There is little reason to expect political will to be suddenly galvanized in an effort to revisit the terms of the core alliance-forming document. Furthermore, while space security has enjoyed the spotlight recently, it may be overshadowed in the future evolving security environment.
NATO should issue an overarching strategy and doctrinal guidance for military spacepower to accompany the policy. NATO has a unique advantage as a collective organization to convene strategists from likeminded but diverse military backgrounds who could cooperatively develop a warfighting strategy for space. A space-focused center of excellence would be well-suited to address this gap, and would be able to leverage institutional credibility. There are many allied countries with distinct interests in space security that might be interested in leading the effort, and a diverse cadre of experts would support the development of a comprehensive space strategy.
At the operational level, NATO can better integrate space technology into security missions. Current NATO doctrine and strategy outline the way allied commanders should leverage space-based systems during combat operations. These policies focus on using space to support other domains, and give no guidance on how the alliance would conduct operations in space. Although NATO will not deploy weapons in space, the alliance can craft contingencies to fit within the bounds of this restriction and not erode the credibility of its pledge not to weaponize space. NATO should take advantage of the current tractability of the normative environment in space to develop sound plans for space-based activities and not wait until immense pressures force leadership to make decisions under duress. This includes considering how to best leverage terrestrial-based counterspace capabilities, including jamming tools, directed energy technologies, and air-, land-, or sea-lauched kinetic interceptors, or if the alliance should avoid using specific weapons entirely.
The absence of a crisis in space is not an excuse to neglect the importance of integrating new space activities with structural and systematic processes. Integrated situational awareness is crucial as NATO expands into space. The various levels of maturity in sovereign space systems within NATO, combined with the federated structure of the alliance and the complex impacts of space technology, demand effective integration. This integration process should focus on implementing robust baseline security standards for space systems to enable cooperation without concerns about inviting threats through the weakest security node. Another focus should be ensuring the alliance has the ability to arrive at political decisions about taking collective action in space. 041b061a72