Geek Trivia

What Was The First Sci-Fi Film Shot In Space?

Station Crisis
Stellarium
Apogee of Fear
Planet Z
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Answer: Apogee of Fear

There have been countless sci-fi films that have been set in space, but none of them have the distinction of actually being filmed in space—none that is, but Apogee of Fear.

Apogee of Fear is the product of Richard Garriott—seen here—an English-American video game developer and entrepreneur. Garriott is also the sixth person to fly into space as a space tourist. During October of 2008, he spent twelve days aboard the International Space Station. This alone wouldn’t serve to make him particularly notable beyond making the list of space tourists, but during his time aboard the space station, he managed to pack in the filming of a modest sci-fi film.

Prior to his departure for the space station, Garriott worked with Tracy Hickman, a fantasy novelist best known for his role in co-creating the wildly popular Dragonlance universe. Garriott hired Hickman to write a screenplay for a short sci-fi film set aboard the International Space Station (and to later help edit it when Garriott returned from space).

Some filming took place on the ground (the film starts with terrestrial interactions between the characters), then the remainder of the filming took place aboard the space station. The film stars astronauts Yuri Lonchakov, Michael Fincke, and Greg Chamitoff along with Richard Garriott and Richard’s mother Helen (she starred in the ground-based part of the film). All filming was completed in small segments each day with the astronauts volunteering a portion of their free time to support the project.

Although the film wasn’t initially released and was only shown at select venues (such as at a small screening during Dragon Con 2011), it was eventually included as a special feature on the DVD Man on a Mission, a documentary about Garriott’s trip to space.

Image courtesy of NASA.