CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. — Space station astronauts have finally hit the big time, at least when it comes to the big screen.
NASA astronaut Scott Kelly told The Associated Press on Wednesday that he and the rest of the crew are enjoying the 65-inch projection screen that was delivered to the International Space Station nearly two weeks ago. The screen, rolled up for compact storage, flew up on a SpaceX Dragon capsule.
One month into a yearlong mission, Kelly said the screen is useful for work as well as entertainment. Last weekend, for instance, the crew used it to watch the 2013 space thriller "Gravity." Until the projection screen arrived, astronauts had to huddle around their laptops for video conferences, training sessions and movies.
While the astronauts had seen "Gravity" before arriving at the orbiting lab, Kelly said "it was a lot of fun to be able to watch that movie on the space station," especially given the level of space station detail recreated in the film.
"It's really a welcome improvement on board," he said in an interview.
The Austin, Texas, manufacturer, Screen Innovations, calls it the Viewscreen, the same name used by the fictional "Star Trek" crew. The screen is designed to reject ambient light, ever-present inside the orbiting lab.
"Here's to NASA, and to the first man-cave among the stars — the sky is no longer the limit," the company says on its website.
For the record, there are five men at the space station right now, American and Russian, and one woman, an Italian fighter pilot.
Online: NASA: http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/main/