the first african in space
the crew

The First African in Space project, in association with IMAX Theatres, is proud to bring the new super-sized film, SPACE STATION, to Imax Theatres nationwide.

The African premiere took place in Cape Town on April 23 - one month ahead of scheduled release and in time for the run-up to Mark Shuttleworth's departure from terra firma on Thursday April 25. Mark gave an exclusive address to invited guests via a pre-recorded video filmed at Star City in Russia.

Taking you to new heights

SPACE STATION is the story of the greatest engineering feat since landing a man on the moon - the construction of the International Space Station. The global collaborative mission unites 16 nations with a common goal: to further human space exploration.

Construction of the International Space Station is scheduled for completion in 2006. When finally completed, the International Space Station will have a wingspan of 365ft, and a length of 262ft. If all the film shot for SPACE STATION were placed end to end on the wingspan, it would go back and forth nearly 189 times! More than 69,000 feet of 65mm film was flown into space for this movie.

SPACE STATION transports audiences 400kms above Earth to experience life in space. As audiences blast off, they are joined by the astronauts and cosmonauts who directed and filmed their in-orbit assembly of the International Space Station. "This is the first time that audiences will have the all encompassing view that only astronauts and cosmonauts are privileged to experience. The camera actually puts you right there, with them, moving around and floating in space," says SPACE STATION producer Toni Myers. "The IMAX footage captures the excitement and magnitude of this amazing project being built in outer space in a way that no other medium can."

Space movie induces shivers of awe

By Nazlia Peer.

Floating weightless under a myriad stars 160km above the Earth's surface may seem like virtual reality for most.

But for the astronauts who clocked painstaking training hours in a Nasa virtual reality laboratory, the thrill of space-walking - for real - was one of the unique rewards for helping establish the International Space Station (ISS).

The Imax 3D film, Space Station, filmed by astronauts and cosmonauts, gives space-buffs a gravity-defying ride off to the ISS built by 16 countries and widely considered to be the greatest achievement of mankind in space since Neil Armstrong walked on the moon.

Narrated by Tom CruiseFirst African in space Mark Shuttleworth snapped up the screening rights. At its premiere on Tuesday, he made a brief appearance in the opening frames.

His commander, Yuri Gidzenko, can be seen helping install the ISS laboratory Shuttleworth will be conducting experiments in during his eight-day sojourn.

The film, narrated by Tom Cruise, is a 3D visual spectacle, showing off the explosive power of shuttle launches leaving behind towering monsters of billowing smoke.

Theatre-bound humans sucked in by space fever can tour the cramped living quarters and view the more comical effects of micro-gravity, capable of transforming water into perfect globes suspended in the air to be vacuumed up into the mouth of a thirsty crew member.

Before embarking on missions to the ISS crew, members complete rigorous under water simulations in giant tanks in order to learn to work without the pull of gravity.

No Hollywoodesque finale

Once in orbit, they can spend months enraptured in a capsule far away from the comfort, familiarity and diverse environments of Earth.

Yet the slightly goofy characters with giant intellects appear to be in their element, immersed in space and science.

Viewers accustomed to the special-effects bombarded upon them in sci-fi genre movies could find the ending of Space Station alien - there is no Hollywoodesque finale.

However, the film does offer real-life, balding, frizzy-haired and generally unglamorous geniuses doing extraordinary work after having made incredible personal sacrifices, when most of us get our galactic fix from the Star Wars stable.

Space Station debunks the romance of the great out there and informs us of the the talent and bravery of unpackaged heroes. Space Station opens today. For more information call 021 419 7365 or visit

Review by kind permission of Cape Times - IOL


Reviewer Bianca Coleman - ARGUS

Directed and filmed by international astronauts and cosmonauts.
Now showing at the Imax Cinema, BMW Pavilion, V&A Waterfront.

With South African Mark Shuttleworth somewhere over our heads right now in the Soyuz spacecraft, en route to the international space station, this latest Imax release couldn't come at a better time. The documentary charts the building of the space station where Shuttleworth will conduct scientific experiments during his 10-day stay. This home away from home is the work of thousands of people from 16 countries. Pieced together like a puzzle, the first component to be launched into space was Zarya, which means "dawn" in Russian. Sent on its way by a Proton rocket with more than a million kilograms of thrust, the blast-off is one of the highlights of this film, as the camera set near the launchpad is enveloped in smoke and debris.

Zarya was followed by the American module Unity, delivered by a NASA space shuttle and linked with a robotic arm. Together, these parts laid the foundation of the space station. The shuttle Discovery then delivered the "construction crew" whose job it was to install lighting, plumbing and communication systems - a component called the Z1 Truss. With living quarters, storage and the basics installed, the space station was ready for its first inhabitants, cosmonauts Yuri Gidzenko (the commander on Shuttleworth's trip) and Sergei Krikalev, and commander Bill Shepherd from the US. The trio spent more than four months on the space station, preparing for the next and perhaps most important part to arrive - Destiny, the science lab.

Space Station takes the viewer behind the scenes of the astronauts' training in case of a disaster - like floating off into space during a space walk - and the hours spent in a massive water tank to simulate working in a weightless environment. It charts their daily acitivies while in space, from meal times to exercise, work and sleep. Filmed and directed by the crew themselves, Space Station reveals touches of humour, such as the speed limit sign which is actually how fast the space station is orbiting Earth, and inflatable alien dolls floating around. Narrated by Tom Cruise, Space Station has enough technical information to delight anyone who has dreamed of space travel, combined with the breathtaking beauty of our planet filmed from hundreds of kilometres high. As always, Imax does this justice more than any other format.

Landing Countdown to 05:51 05 May

Landing Complete!

The Team
Mark Shuttleworth
Dale Cupido
Karen Sharwood
Lara Keytel
Danie Barry
Freddy Khan
Vaughan Oosthuizen
Ravi Naidoo
Vuyo Dwane
Richard Mills
Nicolette Cronje
Wayne Derman
Peter Ribton
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