Director: Clint Eastwood
Runtime: 180 minutes
TV Rating: TVPG
Space Cowboys is a 2000 science fiction film directed and produced by Clint Eastwood. Eastwood also stars in the film alongside Tommy Lee Jones, Donald Sutherland, and James Garner as four older “ex-test pilots” who are sent into space to repair an old Soviet satellite. The original music score was composed by Eastwood and Lennie Niehaus.
IKON, an obsolete Soviet communications satellite is about to fall out of orbit, and NASA are instructed, for political reasons, to capture it, rather than allow it to crash. The onboard systems respond, but are so archaic that nobody at NASA understands them. They ask retired United States Air Force colonel, test pilot and electrical engineer, Dr. Frank Corvin (Eastwood), who designed the original guidance systems from which the satellite’s system has been copied, to help them, despite the longstanding animosity between the engineer and project director Bob Gerson (James Cromwell).
A flashback (the very beginning of the movie) reveals that 40 years ago (i.e., in 1958), Corvin’s prospects as an astronaut had been dashed with the formation of NASA, a civilian agency.