Hubble Telescope to Star in Warner Bros.' IMAX 3D Film

Hubble Telescope to Star in Warner Bros.' IMAX 3D Film
The Hubble Space Telescope, as filmed during deployment in April 1990, by an IMAX camera mounted on the shuttle. (Image credit: NASA/Smithsonian/Lockheed.)

WarnerBros. Pictures has signed the lead for its next "big" movie debutingin 2010, a principal that is no stranger to working with the stars.

Thestudio announced Monday that in cooperation with NASA, anIMAX 3D camera will be on-board the space shuttle when it launches its finalservicing mission to the Hubble Space Telescope in 2008. The large-format filmwill use the footage taken by the STS-125 crew to share the "lifestory" of the orbiting observatory.

"Adecade ago we made a film that briefly touched on the subject of Hubble, butback then its first images were just coming in," said IMAX producer anddirector Toni Myers of her 1994 IMAX film "Destiny in Space.""Today, we have Hubble's entire phenomenal legacy of data to explore. WithIMAX 3D, we can transport people to galaxies that are literally 13 billionlight years away. Real star travel is here at last."

The Hubblefilm will mark Warner Bros.' first venture into filming in space.

"Ouroriginal IMAX 3D releases have already put audiences in the driver's seat of aNASCAR racecar and taken them swimming with some of the most exotic underseacreatures on earth, and now we look forward to transporting them to the farreaches of the universe," said Dan Fellman, Warner Bros.' domestic distributionpresident. "Warner Bros. and IMAX have collaborated on 20 films over thelast four years, and we are excited to share our next endeavor -- the IMAX 3Dspace film -- with our audience."

The Hubble servicingmission, NASA's fifth since the space telescope was launched in 1990, isplanned as an 11-day flight. After reaching orbit, the shuttle's crew willrendezvous with the observatory on the third day of the flight and using theorbiter's mechanical arm, will place the telescope on a work platform in thecargo bay. Five separate spacewalks will be needed to accomplish all of themission's objectives.

Among thework scheduled is the installation of two new instruments, the Cosmic OriginsSpectrograph (COS) and Wide Field Camera 3 (WFC3), along with the replacementof one of the Hubble's three fine guidance sensors and an attempted repair ofthe Advanced Camera for Surveys, which stopped working in January 2007. Themission is designed to extend the working life of the Hubble through twodecades of service.

"Weare thrilled that people from around the world will experience this vitalservicing mission from a front row seat," said Shana Dale, NASA's deputyadministrator. "Audiences will be mesmerized as they are transported tothe distant galaxies of the universe."

As withprevious space-based IMAX films, Warner Bros. will not launch a production teambut rather use the crew as their cameramen.

Veteranastronaut Scott Altman willcommand STS-125 with Navy Reserve Capt. Gregory C. Johnson as his pilot. Mission specialists John Grunsfeld, Michael Massimino, Andrew Feustel, Michael Good and K.Megan McArthur will perform spacewalks and maneuver the shuttle's robot armduring the flight. Altman, Grunsfeld and Massimino are making a return visitthe Hubble: all three were crew members on STS-109, the fourth servicingmission, and Grunsfeld also served on the prior visit, STS-103 in 1999.

WarnerBros.' Hubble movie will be the seventh IMAX film to be shot in space and onlythe second to use the three-dimensional camera in orbit. Earlierreleases, produced in cooperation with Lockheed Martin, include "HailColumbia" (1982), "The Dream is Alive" (1985), "BluePlanet" (1990), "Destiny in Space" (1995), "Mission toMir" (1997) and "Space Station 3D" (2002).

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Robert Z. Pearlman Editor, Contributor

Robert Pearlman is a space historian, journalist and the founder and editor of, an online publication and community devoted to space history with a particular focus on how and where space exploration intersects with pop culture. Pearlman is also a contributing writer for and co-author of "Space Stations: The Art, Science, and Reality of Working in Space” published by Smithsonian Books in 2018. He previously developed online content for the National Space Society and Apollo 11 moonwalker Buzz Aldrin, helped establish the space tourism company Space Adventures and currently serves on the History Committee of the American Astronautical Society, the advisory committee for The Mars Generation and leadership board of For All Moonkind. In 2009, he was inducted into the U.S. Space Camp Hall of Fame in Huntsville, Alabama. In 2021, he was honored by the American Astronautical Society with the Ordway Award for Sustained Excellence in Spaceflight History.