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Netflix reveals 1st teaser for 'Space Sweepers,' a South Korean sci-fi film about space junk salvage

In a modern call-back to the cult space TV show "Firefly" (2002), a new South Korean Netflix film explores the fictional adventures of a ragtag crew that makes their living on space salvage. Oh, and let's not forget there's a cute robot included.

"Space Sweepers" debuts on Feb. 5 and a new trailer from Netflix shows a production value that is off the charts. Some of the shots include space explosions, a robot throwing a spear from the hull of a space station, and incredible shots of planets and spacecraft.

But the characters, working in the year 2092, have a more practical matter on their minds: trying to make a living in a dangerous environment. During the trailer, one character screams, "Watch the antenna!" moments before an expensive collision happens.

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The South Korean science fiction film "Space Sweepers" launches on Netflix Feb. 5, 2020. (Image credit: Netflix)

"Projected profit loss: $7,300," the computer neutrally announces while a crew member shakes their head in dismay.

Starring characters include space pilot Tae-ho (Song Joong-ki, "Running Man"), ex-space pirate Captain Jang (Kim Tae-ri, "The Handmaiden"), spaceship engineer Tiger Park (Jin Sun-kyu, "The Outlaws"), and the aforementioned military robot, Bubs (Yoo Hai-jin, "A Taxi Driver").

In a statement, Netflix said the new film will demonstrate the challenges that the four main crew members — who have very different personalities — encounter while they work together on the spaceship Victory. The show focuses on the events after the crew tries to salvage a derelict spaceship, then finds an unexpected passenger inside.

(Image credit: Netflix)

"After successfully snatching a crashed space shuttle in the latest debris chase, Victory’s crew find a 7-year-old girl inside," reads a Netflix synopsis. "They realize that she's the humanlike robot wanted by UTS Space Guards, and decide to demand ransom in exchange."

"Space Sweepers" has echoes of older TV show "Firefly," which followed a renegade crew — who were on the losing side of a recent war, and suffering as a result — that tried to scavenge their living off of space debris. 

The trailer of "Space Sweepers" also appears to have eye-popping visuals similar to "Ready Player One" (a 2018 film based on the 2011 book of the same name), which showcases an apocalyptic society where most people escape their reality through video games.

"Space Sweepers" launches on Netflix Feb. 5.

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Elizabeth Howell

Elizabeth Howell is a contributing writer for who is one of the few Canadian journalists to report regularly on space exploration. She is the author or co-author of several books on space exploration. Elizabeth holds a Ph.D. from the University of North Dakota in Space Studies, and an M.Sc. from the same department. She also holds a bachelor of journalism degree from Carleton University in Canada, where she began her space-writing career in 2004. Besides writing, Elizabeth teaches communications at the university and community college level, and for government training schools. To see her latest projects, follow Elizabeth on Twitter at @howellspace.