Join NASA astronauts on Fernbank Museum’s giant screen as they venture underwater in “Astronaut: Ocean to Orbit” to train for spacewalks on the International Space Station. Directed by Emmy award-winning cinematographer Jonathan Bird, this film follows astronauts Chris Cassidy and Jeanette Epps on two different underwater training facilities and reveals the ways NASA uses these environments to give its astronauts experiences akin to those in space. “Astronaut: Ocean to Orbit” premieres on Oct. 8, 2022, in Fernbank’s Giant Screen Theater.
Audiences will see first-hand how astronauts learn to live and work in space by first practicing underwater in “Astronaut: Ocean to Orbit.” Jonathan Bird specializes in underwater production and captures the complexities surrounding an astronaut’s training regimen before going into space. The film demonstrates how critical it is for astronauts to be trained for every scenario in microgravity, whether positive or negative. Fortunately, the closest place to train with no oxygen or gravity is located on Earth itself, specifically in special facilities located in Texas and Florida.
“Astronaut: Ocean to Orbit” gives a real-life example of how this training successfully saved an astronaut’s life. In 2013, current ISS Commander Chris Cassidy had to make an immediate spacewalk to fix a critical life-support system on the station. He would not have been able to complete this high-stress feat without having first practiced underwater. Now, audiences can get a giant screen view of Cassidy as he works in a space suit in an underwater facility called the Neutral Buoyancy Laboratory in Houston, which houses a life-size replica of the ISS and allows him to practice his skillset. Cassidy has now completed 10 spacewalks in his career at NASA, accruing 378 days in space over his three launches.
Southeast of Houston in Key Largo, Florida, is the Aquarius Reef Base, where Jeanette Epps trained to one day become the first Black woman to have an extended stay in space as part of an ISS crew through NASA’s Extreme Environment Mission Operations (NEEMO). “Astronaut: Ocean to Orbit” captures her 10-day stay with other astronauts underwater, simulating what life will be like in space, including how to move aboard the spaceship, collect samples and initiate experiments. She was first a CIA technical intelligence officer before becoming an astronaut in 2009 and viewers will now have the chance to watch her prepare for her first space flight to the ISS.
In an impressive comparison of underwater training to working in outer space, “Astronaut: Ocean to Orbit” allows audiences an immersive look into the technological world of astronauts and what it takes to prepare for a trip outside of Earth’s orbit.
This film premieres the same day as Fernbank’s new exhibit, Journey to Space, which will run until Jan. 1, 2023. With the film running alongside the exhibit, visitors will leave with a better understanding of and deeper interest in all things space. This film is family friendly and has a run time of 20 minutes.
MacGillivray Freeman Films presents “Astronaut: Ocean to Orbit,” an Oceanic Research Group production directed by Jonathan Bird.
“Astronaut: Ocean to Orbit” plays daily in Fernbank’s Giant Screen Theater at Fernbank Museum. General admission tickets include three floors of exhibits in the natural history museum, choice of one giant screen film and 75 acres of nature explorations in Fernbank Forest and WildWoods. Fernbank is located at 767 Clifton Road NE in Atlanta, minutes from midtown Atlanta and downtown Decatur.
For more information, visit FernbankMuseum.org. General admission tickets include one giant screen film and are available for purchase online at $24.95 for adults, $23.95 for seniors, $22.95 for children ages 3-12, free for children ages 2 and younger, and free for Fernbank Members. These prices are for tickets purchased online at FernbankMuseum.org. Tickets not purchased in advance are offered, if available, at a higher price.