Tom Cruise On Course For First Civilian ISS Space Walk

The Top Gun: Maverick actor is developing a movie that proposes taking a rocket up to the International Space Station for shooting, a Universal Pictures executive confirmed.

The International Space Station as photographed by Expedition 56 crew members from a Soyuz spacecraft after undocking in 2018. [Courtesy: NASA]

When it comes to filming on location, it seems Hollywood executives will consider going to the moon for a movie. Or, in the case of Tom Cruise, to the International Space Station (ISS).

Cruise, one of Hollywood's most famous pilots—on screen and off—could possibly be on his way to becoming the first civilian to conduct a space walk on the International Space Station, if executives at Universal Pictures have their way.

"I think Tom Cruise is taking us to space. He's taking the world to space," Universal Filmed Entertainment Group Chairman Donna Langley told BBC in a recent interview. "That's the plan. We have a great project in development with Tom that does contemplate him doing just that, taking a rocket up to the space station and shooting, and hopefully being the first civilian to do a space walk outside of the space station."

Aerial coordinator Kevin “K2” LaRosa II says Tom Cruise inspired him to "set the bar higher" during filming of Top Gear: Maverick. [Courtesy: Skydance]

Cruise proposed the idea to the studio during the pandemic, Langley said.

"The majority of the story actually takes place on Earth, and then the character needs to go up to space to save the day," she said.

Rumblings of the actor blasting off into space aren't exactly new. In the spring of  2020, Deadline reported that the Top Gun: Maverick actor was collaborating with NASA and Elon Musk's SpaceX to film an action-adventure movie.

It's a collaboration that NASA officials support, according to then-NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine.

"We need popular media to inspire a new generation of engineers and scientists to make NASA’s ambitious plans a reality. NASA is excited to work with Tom Cruise on a film aboard the Space Station.” Bridentine said, according to the Deadline report, “There has never been a leading man… who puts himself at risk as often as does Cruise, in the name of the most realistic action sequences possible. If he is successful shooting a project in Musk’s space ship, he will be alone in the Hollywood record books.”

The ISS, which is about the length of an American football field, orbits 227 nm above Earth, according to Kennedy Space Center.

Last year, the actor interviewed NASA astronaut Victor Glover about his ISS mission.

Cruise, who has been a pilot since 1994, flew in many of the scenes in the Top Gun: Maverick

“The Navy wouldn’t let him fly an F-18,” the film’s producer, Jerry Bruckheimer said, according to USA Today. “But he flies a P-51 in the movie and he flies helicopters.”

Kimberly is managing editor of FLYING Digital.

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