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SPACE WOMAN: Interview with veteran NASA astronaut Marsha Ivins


SPACE WOMAN: Veteran NASA astronaut Marsha Ivins discusses her work on the new Imax film A Beautiful Planet

Broadly speaking, the human race can be divided into two slightly unequal halves: there are those who have never been to space, and there are those, part of a tiny fraction of a fraction of a fraction, who have.

Marsha Ivins belongs to the second category. She is a veteran – a survivor, some would strongly argue – of five space shuttle missions, clocking up more than 1300 hours in space.

In 2002 she worked with documentary director Toni Myers on the Imax film Space Station 3D. She again teamed up with her to serve as a consultant to produce A Beautiful Planet 3D.

Ivins (second from right) with the crew of the Space Shuttle Atlantis while in orbit. (Photo: NASA)

Ivins (second from left) with the crew of the Space Shuttle Atlantis while in orbit. (Photo: NASA)

Modest to a fault, Ivins – born in Baltimore in 1951 – is a remarkable person who self-effacingly describes herself as ‘an engineer’ despite being an accomplished pilot as well as one of the world’s most seasoned astronauts. In 2001 on her fifth and final flight, she served as a mission specialist on the Atlantis space shuttle that delivered the laboratory Destiny to the International Space Station.

Ivins says the latest Imax space film comes closest to recreating the experience of viewing Earth from orbit.

In this special two-part interview, Ivins discusses the film and space films in general – she worked on Interstellar –  including her critiques of such films as Apollo 13 and the hugely successful Gravity, a movie she says really annoys her.

Ivins also reflects on her experiences in detail and the dangers of space travel, with reference to the Challenger and Columbia tragedies.

Please enjoy. 


Click play for the interview with Marsha Ivins


Click play for a trailer for the film