There are forty-some hours of video imagery on this hard drive. John and I spent the better part of three days surfing the first layer of the enormous ISS video archive, mostly at high speed, in an upstairs cubicle in Building 8. A NASA research assistant who knew her way around the system dialed up clips from an index that seemed on paper to fit what we were looking for. We auditioned a few hundred hours to select the forty we did, and don’t expect to use more than a few minutes of that.
We were looking for pictures to illustrate the beginning of the space station, from the slow approach of Endeavor, with Unity in her cargo bay, toward the waiting Zarya, up to and including Expedition One, the first full-time crew to live aboard the station almost two years later. There were three American and two Russian missions in the interim to prepare it for occupation. This beginning will compose the first twelve to fifteen minutes of the ninety-minute film we plan to make, and we still have the Russian archive to sift through. And a whole bunch of people to interview, whose voices will narrate the pictures.
We have a lot of work ahead of us, and a lot of hard choices to make. It’s a good thing we have two years plus to finish this movie.