Space Cowboys

(Space Cowboys)

 The Story

 Full Story

In 1958, the members of Team Daedalus, a group of top Air Force test pilots, were ready to serve their country as the first Americans in space. When NASA replaced the Air Force for outer atmospheric testing, Team Daedalus was pushed aside and a chimpanzee got the honor. The team retired, but the dream of going into space never died.

Tank Sullivan, Frank Corvin, William Hawkins et Jerry O'Neill - Space Cowboys
Tank Sullivan, Frank Corvin, William Hawkins et Jerry O'Neill

Now, over four decades later, the Russian satellite Ikon has suffered a systems failure that Russian officials insist will cause a total communications blackout in their country. NASA official Bob Gerson stumbles toward a solution – and finds it in a very unexpected place. Since Ikon has the same guidance system as early American satellite Skylab, Skylab’s designer should know how to fix Ikon. But Gerson already knows the designer.

Now retired, Frank Corvin is the only man alive who can do the job. Gerson and Frank know each other well and they do not appreciate one another. During the 60', the Daedalus team was put aside because of him. This is the chance of a lifetime to go into space but Frank won’t take it unless he can bring the only crew he trusts to do the job with him. Team Daedalus is back in action...

Frank Corvin - Space Cowboys
Frank Corvin

Despite Gerson's protests, our four grandfathers start the training. A training they mustn't fail if not they'll be fired to let their place to a young astronauts team. Despite their weakened physics, the four are going to give their best and to succeed to the physical aptitude tests. Nevertheless the mission is nearly cancelled when physicians discover that Hawkins develops a cancer that leaves him only eight month to live. Thanks to Sara's intervention -  a technician of the space center, in love with Hawkins - the four are "Go" for space.

The D-day has arrived. Besides veterans, the crew is composed with Ethan and Roger, two young experimented astronauts. The shuttle takes off and the dream realizes. The shuttle approaches the satellite Ikon and Tank succeed to hang it with the arm of the spaceship. Frank, Ethan and Jerry go for an extra-vehicular walk to approach the device. But after a brief visiting, Frank calls his men back to the shuttle and contacts the space center in emergency on a secured canal : Ikon is armed with six nuclear missiles each directed on a United States's city. Ancient vestige of the cold war, everyone understands now why Russians insisted for this "communication satellite" not to enter in the atmosphere. Frank equally learns that if Ikon possesses the Skylab's guidance system, it is because at this time, Gerson plans were stolen. He had passed the affair under silence hoping that nobody would notice his huge professional fault.

Frank, Jerry and Tank - Space Cowboys
Frank, Jerry and Tank

But problems only begin. Ethan, for whom the mission is a priority, disobeyed Frank orders and active a lever that puts the satellite in attack position, aiming its missiles on the american continent...

 Spoiler ! the end of the story is revealed below…

During this phase, the shuttle is struck by the satellite and by thousands of remains, coming from it. Damages are considerable, the return computer is out of order, and just one engine is still functioning. Nevertheless it is necessary to quickly find a solution before missiles are to be launched. Without propellers, it is impossible to send Ikon sufficiently far in space to be no longer dangerous. The decision is taken to use the satellite's engines to throw it in space towards the moon. But as the operation can be realized only since the satellite itself, Hawk takes the initiative to sacrifice...

While Hawk, stowed to Ikon, directs to the moon, the return of the other astronauts is quite chaotic. The space shuttle no longer possessing the approach computer, this one has to be piloted manually. Frank succeed to land the engine thanks to a particular technic his regretted friend Hawkins  taught him. A friend who now rests on the surface of the moon, an objective he always dreamt about.

DoctorSF's Words

This film received the whole cooperation of the NASA. Some parts have been produced in Johnson's Space Center - Houston, Texas, and in Kennedy Space Center in Orlando, Florida.