New film at Museum of Flight examines future of space exploration

A new IMAX documentary film, “Journey to Space,” will have its Northwest premiere Saturday at The Museum of Flight.

The film looks back at the glory days of the 135 flights made during the space shuttle program and looks to the future of manned space exploration.

The film’s writer and director, Mark Krenzien, wanted the film to remind viewers that the space program did not halt with the end of the shuttle flights in 2011. His film tells the story of the next chapter of space exploration, according to Ted Huetter, museum spokesman.

The 45-minute film uses footage shot during missions and narration by Patrick Stewart to tell its story.

It also relies on an interview with astronaut Chris Ferguson, who commanded the final shuttle mission, to look back at the successes of that program, including building the International Space Station and deploying and repairing the Hubble Space Telescope.

Krenzien also talks with Serena Aunon, a newly selected astronaut, about what future mission might be like and where they might go, including a possible 21/2-year mission to Mars.

In putting the film together, Krenzien said in a news release, he wanted to help people who saw the movie understand how the experiences of the shuttle program — in terms of planning and actual hardware — have charted the course for the next phase of human exploration beyond low-Earth orbit.

“No longer science fiction, a human mission to Mars is in the planning stages, and major steps are being taken to make it a reality within a generation,” Bob Kresser, chief executive officer of K2 Films, said in a prepared statement. “Our goal in making this film was to tie together the actual hardware being built with the tremendous planning under way that will make the next steps in space exploration the most far-reaching in our history.”

K2 Films and Giant Screen Films co-produced and co-distributed the film.

The new film closely complements the museum’s Spaceflight Academy’s fun approach to shuttle history and future spaceflight, Huetter said.

The movie will be shown throughout every day for a separate admission of $2 general and $1 for museum members.

While at the museum, visitors also can see the space shuttle trainer crew compartment.