Former Astronaut Garrett Reisman Encouraged by Science Programming in Hollywood

Endeavour Space Shuttle - H 2012
Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

Endeavour Space Shuttle - H 2012

Former NASA astronaut Garrett Reisman said, while speaking with The Hollywood Reporter at the HollyShorts Film Festival on Monday, he is encouraged to see space and science generating attention in Hollywood. Reisman was on hand for a screening of Three Nights, Three Days: Endeavour's Journey Through Los Angeles.

“It's great that this is happening — [Three Nights, Three Days] Cosmos [which won four Creative Arts Emmys last weekend] and even The Big Bang Theory [which won one Creative Arts Emmy],” Reisman said of science-themed programming. “I hope science is becoming hip and cool. The best thing we can do is reach out to young women.”

He added that there’s a “crisis” as “more and more women are going to college but they are not necessarily studying science. [So the space industry] is working at a handicap. I hope there will be more positive examples for young girls [to inspire them to study science].”

Now working at Elon Musk’s SpaceX, Reisman is program lead for a developing new spaceship to replace the shuttle program in partnership with NASA. “This will be our next opportunity to get Americans in space in an American rocket,” he said. “We are a couple years away from test flights.”

Three Nights, Three Days was made in cooperation with the California Science Center about the immense effort to bring the Shuttle to the Center, and the impact its journey had on the public. It uses footage of the  2012 journey that was filmed for the Center thanks to a massive effort involving an estimated 150 volunteers from Hollywood, including members of the Society of Camera Operators, and using gear donated by manufacturers and service providers.

“It was really cool to see it on the big screen,” Reisman said. “The movie captures the spirit of the event. It was such a wonderful outpouring of emotion. At the time I didn’t anticipate how many people [would come to see the shuttle] or how patriotic a moment it would be.”

Reisman is among the interviewees in the documentary, and, incidentally, was in the passenger seat of the Toyota Tundra that pulled the Shuttle across the 405 on its journey to the Science Center. “It was awesome,” he said of that experience. “I have a selfie that I took in the rear-view mirror with the shuttle behind me and a sign that read ‘Objects may be closer than they appear.’ ”

Luke Wilson's Satellite Beach, which also follows Endeavour's journey through Los Angeles, was additionally screened during HollyShorts, which runs through Aug. 23 at the TCL Chinese Theatre and the Roosevelt Hotel.

Twitter: @CGinLA