SpaceX Sending Tom Cruise To The Space Station In 2021

Several months after NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine confirmed the project was in the works, sources are now reporting that Tom Cruise and director Doug Liman will officially be making the trip to the International Space Station in October of 2021 to film scenes for an as of yet untitled movie. Cruise and Liman previously worked together on the science fiction spectacle Edge of Tomorrow in 2014, which may give us a hint at what the duo are planning for their trip to the final frontier.

Industry insiders claim that the two film makers and potentially a female co-star will fly aboard a SpaceX Crew Dragon capsule under the command of Michael López-Alegría, a veteran astronaut who currently holds the American record for number and duration of extra-vehicular activities (EVAs). The mission is being organized by Axiom Space, which previously announced they would perform a series of privately funded flights to the ISS as a precursor to constructing their own commercial expansion to the orbiting laboratory.

Mars One living units under regolith
This never happened.

Of course, with more than a year before liftoff, anything could happen. SpaceX has been linked, officially or otherwise, to several private trips to space that literally and figuratively never got off the ground.

Mars-One was touting concept art that showed a fleet of modified SpaceX Dragons on the Red Planet as far back as 2012, and Elon Musk himself once announced that the Falcon Heavy would send private passengers on a trip around the Moon by the end of 2018. But to date, a pair of NASA astronauts have been the only humans to actually fly on SpaceX hardware.

Undoubtedly, some will see this flight of fancy as a waste of valuable resources. After all, there’s no shortage of scientists and researchers who would be more deserving of trip to a space than Jerry Maguire. But according to Bridenstine, the hope is that a big budget Hollywood film featuring scenes shot on the ISS could do for NASA what Top Gun once did for the Navy:

There was a day when I was in elementary school and I saw Top Gun. From that day, I knew I was going to be a Navy pilot. If we can get Tom Cruise to inspire an elementary kid to join the Navy and be a pilot, why can’t we get Tom Cruise to inspire the next Elon Musk? That’s what we need.

While we might not all agree on who the next generation of engineers should look to for inspiration, the impact that Top Gun had on Navy recruitment in the 80s and 90s is well established. If sending Tom Cruise to space for a few weeks might help inspire more kids to look into a STEM education, it’s probably worth a shot. Though it seems like Tom Hanks and his fellow Apollo 13 crew mates did a respectable enough job celebrating the incredible engineering behind NASA’s greatest triumph without actually going into orbit themselves.

60 thoughts on “SpaceX Sending Tom Cruise To The Space Station In 2021

  1. It’s worth noting that the NASA Administrator usually steps down once a new President is elected. So it’s possible that by this time next year, Bridenstine won’t be in charge. Should be interesting to see if that has any bearing on this plan, or any of the other attempts to commercialize the ISS for that matter.

    Though in that case, Cruise could probably just fly with the Russians. Though their spaceships aren’t nearly as cool looking inside, and certainly far less comfortable.

    1. Bridenstine has been fairly apolitical and knows the value of working both sides of the aisle. There have been NASA administrators that have carried over from administration to administration in the past, like Dan Golden, so I do not think it is necessarily a forgone conclusion that their will be a change.

    1. Doesn’t seem that bad to me. At least assuming whatever they are working on which needs the moviestar element isn’t a real waste of space. All the problems in the world that need fixing need scientist and engineers so if the pretty moving images inspire enough children to actually want to apply themselves along that vein its a huge win (I know I’d have had no interest the way it was all being taught in school when I was there – it was my Dad (Did nuclear chemistry at uni which lead into computing), plus things like Gerry Anderson’s work and Robot Wars that meant I wanted to read and learn everything and was usually several years ahead of the curriculum). As for the cost of such a win.. well the proposed launch vehicle is rather efficient and will almost certainly be launching anyway carrying one or two ‘useless’ personnel makes those up there work longer but does not change the constant stream of launches all that much. So not really that wasteful.

      Technically you could call this website a waste of resources heck the entire always on connected world a waste, all completely unneeded folks got by for centuries without it and had almost the same level of access to information (in some nations at least) through a library network for decades. But nobody would ever argue the internet in general is a waste, and I at least quite like the new techniques and weird ideas they inspire from websites like this one.

        1. Indeed, don’t care about the man though. It only matters if the character and performance are good enough to be inspiring. A better choice would be nice, but who? I can’t think of anybody with similar fame (unfortunately rather important) who might fit for the role we all expect of him.

          1. I’ll second that.

            This thing about thinking someone’s professional career performance is shit because of something they do in their own personal life, that they keep separate, is fundamentally immoral.

            It’s firing competent people over tweets outside of the narrative, expelling students over completely legal social media posts, boycotting companies because their owners have some religious view, plus doxxing, lawfare, and attacking in general.

            His performance as an actor is unrelated to his religion.

            We have freedom of religion for a reason.

          2. “This thing about thinking someone’s professional career performance is shit because of something they do in their own personal life, that they keep separate, is fundamentally immoral.”
            The problem is the quality of a person often IS reflected in their work. Cruse is a Shit Actor, and not such a shining example of a human being. He even did two movies I live. No Top Gun was not one of them.

            In the sixty five years I have been breathing the air on this rock, I have found the statement you object to to be more right than not.

          3. “A better choice would be nice, but who? I can’t think of anybody with similar fame (unfortunately rather important) who might fit for the role we all expect of him.”

            Tom Hanks

    2. To me, as long as the studio pays for it, including a little extra to make it worth everyone’s while, and not NASA, its not a waste of valuable resources; its a reappropriation from the entertainment sector to hard science, and well worth it. If every sci fi blockbuster shot their scenes in space, and paid for the trip, spaceflight would be commodotized to the point that we’d need and could afford extra space stations.

      1. i agree, its free enterprise. its this kind of out box thinking creates a market for commercial space access which drives competition and improves innovation in the space sector. and to get all that you first need customers, and lots of them. so long as any nasa support is properly compensated and isn’t taxpayer money.

  2. What’s puzzling is the studio choosing to not build a simulated set (and/or use cgi). Would have loved to be in on that meeting.

    As for the haters of Tom. I have a friend who is a contractor that does work at the homes of many “celebrities”. He did work at Tom’s house (when Nicole was there). Both of them were nothing but respectful and considerate to him, and in fact gave him a very large tip. They were not at all snobbish.

    Besides, I like his movies. Vincent in Collateral was pretty bad-azz (Mozambique fast draw… “hey.. homie, is that my briefcase?”… who can forget that ?).. right up there with John Wick… wonder who’d win that contest ? lol

    Contrast this to “Rocky” (Stallone), who is universally regarded by people who have worked for him (including my friend, the contractor) as a total d-bag that treats the ‘peons’ like c$hit.

    1. I guess we’re in the small, unpopular camp of thinking that he’s not exactly a bad guy. Just misguided and, I guess
      “earnest” (if that’s the word) to a fault. Of the documentaries about Scientology told from a first-person view, they really DO think they are ‘changing the world for the better’ even though that “religion” is a twisted cult.

    1. Thank you!

      After 2 billion posts about some actor, we finally got to the really horrible part: inspiring kids to be extremely lucky pot-smoking billionaires with fantasies of colonizing Mars, all the while they disregard the laws here on earth and make absurdly false marketing promises that they somehow never really get called out on.

      It’s normal scientists and engineers what get folks into space.

    2. “All it takes to join the navy is the ability to sign your name”… as a retired O6, I find your comment demeaning to the men and women who willingly choose to serve our country. What the hell are you doing ? (besides sitting on your ass making snarky comments about those who defend your freedom).. to quote Col Nathan Jessup “you sleep under the very blanket of freedom I provide, and then question the manner in which I provide it !” (not that the movie was even close to being realistic – but I always get a kick out of it).

      Naval aviators (especially fighter pilots) are required to endure a very selective screening process, believe me, they earn the privilege to wear those gold wings ! Top Gun was pure fiction – any pilot that did what “Maverick” did (disregard NATOPS) would be held accountable.. the long green table.. a career ending hearing.

      Your jealousy towards Mr Musk is a sorry ass expression of your own failures to accomplish what he did. I’ve had the honor of working with “disadvantaged” sailors from all walks of life. The ones that succeed had the determination and will power to not hide behind lame excuses of not having “wealthy parents”, or going to a “prestigious school”.

      Life is what we make it … perhaps you should be hanging out on a street corner demanding free stuff (and “reparations” while you’re at it).

      1. now whose being shitty and demeaning? Love your little reparations comment. remember you “CHOSE” to serve your country, which is great thing. Thousands of my ancestors didn’t have that choice, they were forced to come here, yet they still served this country. Their sweat and blood allows you to make your “CHOICE” today. And many still serve this this country to this day despite what was forced upon our ancestors.

        while I may not agree with reparations, your little remark is disgusting. I quite frankly leaves me feeling that you are among the same people that are perpetuating the problem. Love you basically are demanding respect, yet being very disrespectful at the same time.

    1. I don’t see it that way. Anytime someone steps up and is willing to spend their money — that money is paying for people (lots) to work and let technology go forward. Each launch is a learning experience for the engineers and everyone involved to make it better down the road. Same with space station(s) and space exploration. Heck if I had the resources, I’d take a ride up too. Money well spent… if I had the means… Man needs an outlet or dream to go forward, and the final frontier is now it. That said, whether you are a fan of Tom or not, there are people behind the scenes being put to work to make the/a movie… To me it is a win-win whether you like his personal life or not. That goes for politics as well. Ie, not how you speak, or how you look — it is what you stand for, and who you stand with, and stand against. We should not allow ourselves to be influenced by the ‘opinions’ and slants of the talking media heads.

      1. By that standard, every child laborer, sweatshop worker, and oil company CEO are all working for the future of mankind. Some things are good for everyone, and some things are a waste of life and resources. Sending a scientist to space != sending Tom Cruise.

  3. Came to make a Xenu joke myself. But.. the scientology angle kind of seems to have been done to death already.

    Next obvious thing to point out…

    So they want to do for NASA what Top Gun did for the Navy? Well.. good idea. But using the same actor? How many years later? Is the goal to get a bunch of older recruits who decide starting a new career as an astronaut is the just the thing for their mid-life crisis? Hey, if that’s it then great. They can save the cost of a launch, just give me a few more birthdays then come and get me.

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