GVSU alum David Ruck’s film ‘I Want to Be an Astronaut’ requested by astronauts aboard International Space Station
A documentary produced by Grand Valley State University alumnus David Ruck is out of this world … literally.
The 33-year-old Whitehall native produced the film, "I Want to Be an Astronaut," which will soon be playing in orbit for astronauts aboard the International Space Station. The 38-minute documentary tells the story of Blair Mason, a 17-year-old high school student from Chantilly, Va., who’s striving to become an astronaut at a time when space exploration has moved out of the national spotlight.
Once filming wrapped up a few weeks ago, Ruck posted the film’s trailer on Space Station Flight Engineer Rick Mastracchio’s Facebook page.
He didn’t think he’d hear anything back.
"I thought he was going to go on a space walk and never contact me."
But then the Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas, reached out to Ruck and asked if it was possible for astronauts aboard the artificial satellite to view the film in its entirety.
"I was pretty much in orbit, too," Ruck said of his reaction. "It was awesome."
Ruck said the idea behind the film came about when he started thinking about today’s generation of kids and if, in a post-space shuttle era without manned explorations, they still dream of being astronauts.
In the film, he delves into the specifics of what it takes to be an astronaut and what is being done to keep such dreams alive. A glimpse into current NASA efforts is provided through interviews with Charles Bolden, a NASA administrator, and John Glenn, a Mercury 7 astronaut, the first American to orbit the Earth and a retired U.S. senator.
"It’s an all-around quick look at the various parameters and things that the space program has done and what it has given us and how do we still get kids interested in this," Ruck said.
The film hasn’t premiered to the public yet, but Ruck hopes to host screenings across the country so aerospace engineering companies and others that have a strong focus in the STEM fields — science, technology, engineering and math — inspire young people like Mason to pursue careers in those fields.
"We want to have companies talk about technologies they’re creating, the innovations they’re working on and use that to dovetail into discussion to inspire young people to be a part of that."
While Ruck said he’s not sure when the astronauts will watch his film, he said it’s "in the queue and ready to go — kinda like their Netflix."
For more information or to learn more about sponsorship or screenings opportunities, visit theastronautfilm.com or email email@example.com.
— Follow this reporter on Twitter @SentinelLisa.