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Return to Space

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United States · 2022
2h 8m
Director Elizabeth Chai Vasarhelyi, Jimmy Chin
Genre Documentary

Offering rare inside access to NASA and SpaceX, this is the thrilling story of the nearly 20-year journey to return American astronauts to the International Space Station and revolutionize space travel.

Stream Return to Space

What are people saying?

What are critics saying?


The Playlist by Christian Gallichio

Return to Space is a bit too neatly packaged and overly idealistic about what SpaceX might mean for space travel. By turning their focus up to the stars, the filmmakers, unfortunately, ignore the myriad issues that private space travel creates on earth.


IndieWire by David Ehrlich

The film’s scattershot focus — in stark contrast to the breathless immediacy of “The Rescue” — and advertorial tone diminish the sheer thrill of watching the company land an orbital class rocket for the first time.


The New York Times by Jeannette Catsoulis

Glowing with grandiose pronouncements and uplifting sentiment, Return to Space, a draggy documentary about America’s first manned spaceflight since 2011, could be easily repurposed as promotional material for Elon Musk’s SpaceX.


Wall Street Journal by Joe Morgenstern

It’s a return to dramatic accounts of blastoffs, followed by soul-filling footage from beyond our sheltering atmosphere and implacable gravity; a portrait, by reflected light from fiery boosters, of one of Earth’s most curious (in every respect) overachievers; and a testament to failing upward—far, far upward.

75 by Matt Fagerholm

Chin and Vasarhelyi make a solid case for why space exploration should continue, and the benefits we could reap from it, provided it doesn’t keep our heads perpetually lost in the clouds.


Los Angeles Times by Robert Abele

The film is a relatively smooth blend of optimism for a rejuvenated emphasis on human exploration in the beyond, and branded content promoting a controversial businessman.

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