Netflix bets on a new docuseries: the tragedy of the Challenger space shuttle

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The platform has just released “Challenger: The Final Flight”, a production divided into four parts that tries to shed light on the explosion that shocked the world in 1986.

In recent years, Netflix has been betting heavily on docuseries, a genre that allows dealing with facts and / or personalities in greater depth than a traditional documentary. Along the same lines as The Last Dance The Wild Wild Country, the platform has just been released Challenger: The Final Flight, production divided into four parts.

This documentary series tells the story of the space shuttle that, in 1986, Within 73 seconds of its launch, it exploded before the eyes of millions of people -many of them, school children and teenagers- who were watching it live on television.

Executive produced by JJ Abrams (Lost and Star Wars), the series offers an in-depth look at one of the most diverse crews never assembled by NASA, which included teacher Christa McAuliffe, the first civilian citizen to travel into space.

Directors Steven Leckart and Daniel Junge seek to bring the deceased astronauts closer together through moving conversations with their families. In addition, they delve into the details of the mechanical failures and the decision-making process that led to the tragedy, with interviews with engineers and NASA officials who at the time worked on the faulty launch thrusters and repeatedly expressed their concerns.

The docuserie reveals unpublished talks, training footage and never-before-seen footage that make up an emotional and unfiltered portrait of the events that preceded the sad denouement of the Challenger.

Leckart was one of those elementary school students – obsessed with space – who witnessed the shuttle explosion live. Like everyone else, he was shocked by the terrible fact that all seven people on board had died.

“I remember I wanted to be an astronaut and I wanted to go to space. And then I remember that the Challenger completely destroyed that dream”, Said one of the directors of the series to the agency AP.

Leckart and Glen Zipper – co-executive producer – conceived the series in 2015 while looking to get personal. They both saw disaster as childrenBut they could only remember the name of an astronaut aboard the Challenger: McAuliffe. Who were the other six?

The more they investigated, the more extraordinary people they discovered: Ellison Onizuka was the first Asian-American astronaut in space; Ronald McNair, the second African American; and Judith Resnik, the second American woman and the first Jewish woman to travel into space.

“We wanted to humanize these astronauts, for the public to meet these characters and try to make them understand the human side of this whole story,” said co-director Daniel Junge.

Watching the series was like “riding a roller coaster of emotions” for June Scobee Rodgers, the widow of Challenger commander Dick Scobee, who helped create the “Challenger Center for Space Science Education.”

There is sadness and it serves as a reminder of that tremendous private pain that became so public“Added Rodgers, who in turn gave the production home videos of her husband having fun with family and friends,” wonderful fragments of joy.

Months after the disaster, a fault was known to have caused leaks in the shuttle’s right solid booster rocket. An investigation found that several workers had warned NASA about the danger of launching the Challenger. But NASA was under pressure to maintain its ambitious flight program and the risk was deemed acceptable.

“When we started this series, I was hoping to find this villain that we could put all the responsibility on, and I don’t think we found him,” Zipper said. “No one said, ‘This is definitely going to disintegrate, but let’s launch it anyway.’ They were all loyal to their missions until they said enough. ”

For its part, Leckart compared the Challenger disaster to another 1986 tragedy: the Chernobyl accident.. “There are not necessarily malicious people with the best of intentions, but that can quickly go wrong,” she described.

The series comes at a time when space exploration has returned to American consciousness. In May, “SpaceX”by Elon Musk put astronauts into orbit for the first time in nearly a decade. The programs “Blue Origin”, by Jeff Bezos, and “Virgin Galactic”, by Richard Branson, they also plan trips into space.


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