“One of the problems with being an astronaut is your bucket list gets too long,” says former astronaut Terry Virts, who directed the documentary One More Orbit. Attempting to break the record for the fastest time to circumnavigate the Earth, Virts and his team needs precision and speed to accomplish this daunting task. With an international crew and stops in Kazakhstan, Mauritius, and Chile before arriving back at Kennedy Space Center in Florida, Virts has just 48 hours to circle the planet or leave hopes for the record behind. Strap in as One More Orbit takes viewers across the globe and into the history books with one more “giant leap for mankind.”
Beginning at the Kennedy Space Center in the United States, Virts speaks of the complexity behind such an ambitious expedition. Though some have circumnavigated the Earth before, none have achieved this feat with such speed and such a diverse crew. The film and crew pay homage to the Apollo 11 mission, seeking to bring a sense of unity as they travel where so few have gone before.
Throughout the crew’s voyage above the clouds, Virts takes moments to reminisce about life in space with former cosmonaut Gennady Padalka. Padalka and Virts, having both lived on the International Space Station, speak about the wonders of the final frontier with such passion that it truly speaks to the film’s message of unity among the stars. Despite freezing temperatures, 20 hours of darkness, and flying over an active volcano, Virts and his crew continue their odyssey into the horizon.
“Attempting to break the record for the fastest time to circumnavigate the Earth…”
As expected in a film about the exploration of space, One More Orbit has phenomenal aerial shots and space footage. These shots are even more impressive when considering the lengths the production crew had to go to achieve them. The beauty captured throughout the film is truly awe-inspiring and paired with Virts’ dialogue about his experience as an astronaut, truly elevates (no pun intended) the narrative of progress and unity even further.
However, there are moments the film loses momentum, especially when Virts talks about climate change, the broadcasts of Apollo 11, and Ferdinand Magellan. While all are connected to the themes of exploration and our planet, some of these connections are not as relevant to the overall narrative of a team racing against the odds and pushing the boundaries of technology.
As I watched One More Orbit, I could not help being excited each time they took off to a new destination. The film continues that feeling of awe through each gorgeous frame of Earth in orbit. Virts does an excellent job of displaying his passion for space in every frame, allowing audiences to see the majesty of our planet.
One More Orbit, through the soundtrack and sheer will, captures the epic nature of a once-in-a-lifetime journey. Though, in some moments, it loses momentum, the documentary still delivers a compelling story of international unity and the progress of humankind. I recommend this film to space nerds like myself or those seeking to expand their knowledge of travel beyond our orbit.
"…...takes viewers across the globe and into the history books with one more 'giant leap for mankind.'"