The astronaut crew aboard the International Space Station just screened our film, ‘I want to be an Astronaut’, making it the first orbital premiere ever in space history!

Rick Mastracchio, Christmas Eve 2013.

NASA Astronaut and Flight Engineer Rick Mastracchio communicated to us tonight:

“I watched your film and enjoyed it. It is good to know that there are young people out there willing to work hard to achieve their dreams. We hear so many stories about how bad the education system in the USA has become. It is good to hear a story about how well it can work. I think your film will inspire more students. Thanks for sending it to the International Space Station.”

From Director David J. Ruck, 'I want to be an Astronaut’

This is an incredible honor to be apart of. I speak for the entire team here at IWTBAA when I say confidently that there is so much more to come! We’re grateful to NASA Marshall Space Flight Center; Smithsonian’s UdvarHazy Air & Space Museum; Chantilly High School; Kennedy Space Center; Aerospace Industries Association; FIRST Robotics; NASA Associate Administrator (and astronaut) John Grunsfeld, along with astronaut Rick Mastracchio and the entire crew on board. We wish all of you up there the best as you serve us all down here on the good Earth. Ad astra per aspera!

So much more to come, everyone. We’re working on screenings around the world (accompanied with a panel discussion), to bring this all to you in the best way possible. We’re out to inspire young minds to the launchpad, with STEM as the fuel…

…suit up!

@AstronautMovie, IWantToBeAnAstronaut, and astronautfilm


For those of you who have been following the progress of the film I’m involved with, ‘I want to be an Astronaut’, you may already know about the major screening we have tomorrow at George Washington University to tip off this year’s Humans 2 Mars Summit hosted by ExploreMars.

Wait…Humans 2 Mars? What’s that?

From the globally-renowned science/space journal SpaceRef:

Explore Mars is pleased to announce that the 2014 Humans to Mars (H2M) Summit will be taking place on April 22-24, 2014 at George Washington University (GW). 2014 H2M is being co-sponsored by the George Washington University and the Space Policy Institute at GW.

2014 H2M will continue the discussion started at the 2013 H2M Summit to explore how humanity can land on Mars by the 2030’s. This event will feature discussions on new concepts of Mars architectures, updates on science missions and objectives, planetary protection, In Situ Resource Utilization, human factors, international cooperation, and a myriad of other topics. This event will also pay special attention to engaging the public. “The first day of the conference will be specially designed to engage students and the public,” said Explore Mars Executive Director, Chris Carberry. “We intend to fill the 1500 seat Lisner Auditorium with students, the general public, and space professionals and we will present many inspiring speakers.” 2014 H2M will feature some of the most prominent people in space exploration as well as policy experts, business leaders, media personalities, international representatives, academic leaders, and members of the entertainment community.

2014 H2M will be a highly interactive conference. In addition to the onsite audience, we anticipate having over a thousand schools viewing H2M as well as tens of thousands of individuals from around the world viewing and participating online in the event. While H2M will be based in Washington, DC, our goal is to create a worldwide Mars exploration event.

According to Scott Pace, Director of the Space Policy Institute, “The Human2Mars Summit has become a premier event for everyone involved in the exploration of Mars. We’re honored that Explore Mars will be returning to the George Washington University.”

What is I want to be an Astronaut and why is it important?

Read our mission statement HERE.

After we had our ’orbital premiere’ in space (low earth orbit) aboard the ISS, we’ve been working toward private screenings whereby we could garner the attention of the men and women who directly influence space policy, NASA’s impact on our world, space exploration as a whole, and most importantly, this generation and generations to come.

The goal: draw attention to the importance of STEAM education as it relates to our nation’s ability to remain on the cutting edge of science and technology - creating the jobs of the future - and the need for a vibrant space program to provide the context needed for young people to pursue these challenging and exciting career fields. We also point out where we might be headed if we fail to do so.

We’ve gotten love from USA TODAY, CNN, others (view our press page), and now…

“We’re on a trajectory to screen the film around the country, with discussions through multiple on and offline platforms whereby students, educators, legislators, and the overall voting public can participate in an open forum.

To achieve this, we aim to partner and collaborate with like-minded organizations that share in our vision to educate the public, inspire young people, and engage in meaningful discussion about the future of the space program - along with the Earthly gains from these pursuits which improve our everyday lives.

Not only do we want to stimulate conversation, but we love this film and are excited to share it with you! What we’ve created is an engaging, emotional, and practical means for the justification of a national focus on STEAM education and science literacy. Childhood dreams of becoming an astronaut are not simply a cherished past time; they embody the long-held, deep-rooted legacy of exploration from which those before us deemed it a global priority.

The world continues to benefit from space exploration. However, American tax dollars and an increased NASA budget are not the only solutions. Audacious visions and political will are fueled by the voices and aspirations of the people for which NASA operates. Our goal with this film and the conversations that follow is to remind everyone what NASA means to the world, re-ignite those dreams again, and explore space together.”

– Rich Evans (sagansense), PR/Social Outreach Coordinator, IWTBAA

After the screening of the film, a panel discussion will follow involving our featured guests:

Miles O'Brien is an independent American broadcast news journalist specializing in science, technology, and aerospace.

Gregory Cecil is a Former Senior Aerocomposite Technician, United Space Alliance

David J. Ruck, Director of IWTBAA, is a Michigan native that moved to the Washington, DC area to pursue a Master of Fine Arts (MFA) at American University in Film & Media Arts, which he received in 2014.

Dr. James B Garvin served as NASA’s Chief Scientist from October 2004 - September 2005 and is known for his foundational work in NASA’s Mars explorational programs.

@AstronautMovie, IWantToBeAnAstronaut, and astronautfilm

TheAstronautFilm has been redesigned to integrate our newsletter for aspiring astronauts and space enthusiasts, so sign up now!

What’s in the newsletter?
Upcoming screening dates!
Press releases/media about the film!
Our 10 point guide on how to become an astronaut!
Opportunities to contribute toward becoming a spacefaring nation!

Much more will be included in the newsletter as we move forward. For now, steer yourself via the links below and sign up HERE!

Per audacia ad astra,

twitter || tumblr || facebook || website || trailer

Shout out to all my loyal followers. I’m behind on so much I’ve wanted to post, original and otherwise. Been so busy with the development of @AstronautMovie, achieving a major milestone this evening.

Without saying too much (because I must keep my mouth closed on this one)…let’s just say it’s reached “new heights”…and the press release is in good hands.

Major love to Director David Ruck and the entire team for all their efforts thus far. Good things to come and more are developing. Can’t wait to share all of this with you. Without the support of my followers/ friends, the entire Tumblr science community and the inspiration provided by Carl Sagan and the handsome young man in the image above (next to the other young man), I may have been a crumbling mess right now.

As Astra per aspera*

Rich (@sagansense)


GVSU alum David Ruck’s film ‘I Want to Be an Astronaut’ requested by astronauts aboard International Space Station

A documentary produced by Grand Valley State University alumnus David Ruck is out of this world … literally.

The 33-year-old Whitehall native produced the film, “I Want to Be an Astronaut,” which will soon be playing in orbit for astronauts aboard the International Space Station. The 38-minute documentary tells the story of Blair Mason, a 17-year-old high school student from Chantilly, Va., who’s striving to become an astronaut at a time when space exploration has moved out of the national spotlight.

Once filming wrapped up a few weeks ago, Ruck posted the film’s trailer on Space Station Flight Engineer Rick Mastracchio’s Facebook page.

He didn’t think he’d hear anything back.

“I thought he was going to go on a space walk and never contact me.”

But then the Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas, reached out to Ruck and asked if it was possible for astronauts aboard the artificial satellite to view the film in its entirety.

“I was pretty much in orbit, too,” Ruck said of his reaction. “It was awesome.”

Ruck said the idea behind the film came about when he started thinking about today’s generation of kids and if, in a post-space shuttle era without manned explorations, they still dream of being astronauts.

In the film, he delves into the specifics of what it takes to be an astronaut and what is being done to keep such dreams alive. A glimpse into current NASA efforts is provided through interviews with Charles Bolden, a NASA administrator, and John Glenn, a Mercury 7 astronaut, the first American to orbit the Earth and a retired U.S. senator.

“It’s an all-around quick look at the various parameters and things that the space program has done and what it has given us and how do we still get kids interested in this,” Ruck said.

The film hasn’t premiered to the public yet, but Ruck hopes to host screenings across the country so aerospace engineering companies and others that have a strong focus in the STEM fields — science, technology, engineering and math — inspire young people like Mason to pursue careers in those fields.

“We want to have companies talk about technologies they’re creating, the innovations they’re working on and use that to dovetail into discussion to inspire young people to be a part of that.”

While Ruck said he’s not sure when the astronauts will watch his film, he said it’s “in the queue and ready to go — kinda like their Netflix.”

For more information or to learn more about sponsorship or screenings opportunities, visit or email

— Follow this reporter on Twitter @SentinelLisa.

Cheers to my not-so-distant brother, friend, and cohort of science communication, David J. Ruck. This man rescued me from so much and he continues to compliment my life with support and positive reinforcement.

We’ve brought astronautfilm from ground to low earth orbit. Now we’re positioning ourselves to present it to the masses.

Stellar things in the works, everyone. This is the beginning of the rest of my life.

During times of struggle, reflect on the great challenges faced by all those who earned their place amongst the short list of humans who’ve been off this planet and repeat – Ad Astra Per Aspera, “through hardship to the stars.”



Spoke with the brass of American University regarding IWTBAA. Stellar results. The nostalgia and powerful emotions this film evokes will lead people to space.

“Work” weekend with D. Ruck consisting of more meetings, and an “astronomical” press release coming soon!

Love and Godspeed to all of our supporters. So much in store for everyone as this process continues to take shape, I promise.

Future space cadets who haven’t seen the film trailer…We’re coming for your dreams.

Thank you to all who’ve shared the love, supported the film, and reblogged posts from the astronautfilm Tumblr page. In the short time since starting it - and still in the midst of being developed - it’s garnered 100+ followers!

click HERE to view previous posts about the film

Regarding the film’s progress…we’re on the launchpad and performing final checks before we light this candle. We’re working with The Planetary Society, NASA, Astronaut/Flight Engineer Rick Mastracchio (currently aboard the ISS), the Humans2Mars Summit team, ExploreMars, the Yuri’s Night team and many more. We’ll be present at the Space Exploration Alliance’s Legislative Blitz in Washington D.C. on February 23rd-25th with the FIRST Robotics Team to distribute materials, mingle with space enthusiasts, communicate to legislators the importance of boosting NASA’s funds, and promote space exploration in general.

I’m still looking for contributors to the page! Any of you who wish to contribute NASA/space exploration-related posts to the page, submit them to me. Here’s looking at you humanoidhistory, asonlynasacan, mucholderthen, hellyesnasa, n-a-s-a, nasagifs, jump-suit, nasasapod, let'sdolaunch, commandmodulepilot and nasafanboy…any constructive criticism or help anyone can help me with regarding the blog, customization, etc., please contact me!

I’m extremely proud of this film, how far it’s come and the journey I’ll be taking over the next few years as it docks with viewers and travels around in orbit for all to see :)

Thank you again, and stay passionately curious*