Netflix has greenlighted Countdown: Inspiration4 Mission to Space, a near real-time docuseries following the September launch and mission of the first all-civilian flight crew aboard the SpaceX capsule. The docuseries hails from Time Studios (Black Gold, Big Vape), The Last Dance director Jason Hehir, Known and Connor Schell and Chernin Entertainment’s Words & Pictures. Additionally, Netflix will premiere StoryBots Space Adventure, a hybrid live-action animation special for kids and families to watch together before the mission.
The privately chartered space flight funded, led and commanded by billionaire Jared Isaacman, is also intended to support St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. Isaacman, the 38-year-old founder and CEO of Shift4 Payments, will be joined by Hayley Arceneaux, a physician assistant at St. Jude and pediatric cancer survivor; Christopher Sembroski, a former member of the U.S. Air Force who served in Iraq and now works as a Lockheed Martin engineer, and Sian Proctor, a professor of geosciences and two-time NASA astronaut candidate.
The docuseries will follow the four civilians as they launch into space on a three-day trip orbiting Earth and reaching an altitude higher than that of the International Space Station (ISS). The SpaceX Dragon mission, dubbed Inspiration4, is the most ambitious step to date in the rapidly-developing age of civilian space exploration, making history as the first all-civilian mission to orbit.
Countdown: Inspiration4 Mission To Space, the first Netflix documentary series to cover an event in near real-time, will premiere in five parts leading up to and following the mission beginning with the first two episodes on September 6, followed by episodes 3 and 4 on September 13. Inspiration4’s launch is scheduled for September 15 and the feature-length finale episode will air at the end of the month.
The quick-turnaround series will take viewers behind the scenes with the four crew members — from their unconventional selection and intensive months-long commercial astronaut training, through the intimate and emotional moments leading up to liftoff. The final episode, which premieres just days after the mission is completed, will feature unprecedented access inside the spacecraft capturing the launch and the crew.
Hehir (The Last Dance) will direct the docuseries and executive produce with Schell (30 for 30, The Last Dance), Libby Geist (O.J.: Made in America, The Last Dance), and Aaron Cohen for Words & Pictures; Ian Orefice, Alexa Conway, and Rebecca Gitlitz for Time Studios; Ross Martin, Brad Roth, and Mark Feldstein for Known.
The docuseries is produced by Jonathan D. Woods (A Year in Space) and Jake Rogal (The Last Dance).
In A StoryBots Space Adventure hybrid live-action animation special, the civilian space travelers from Inspiration4 will help the StoryBots answer some of kids’ most pressing questions — like how does a rocket work, how do they train, and how do they eat and sleep in space.
The special is scripted by veteran StoryBots writer Erik Weiner and features a new original song performed by Big Freedia.
Time Studios’ recent projects include, Black Gold (Paramount+), Big Vape (Netflix), John Lewis: Good Trouble (CNN Films), among others.
Marketing company Known is currently producing Hulu’s first-ever after-show for The Handmaid’s Tale and has produced original series and specials for NBCUniversal, WarnerMedia and Discovery Networks.
Words & Pictures, founded by Schell and Chernin Entertainment in 2021, is a production studio with a mission to produce high-end, culturally relevant nonfiction content. The Words & Pictures team, which includes producers Libby Geist and Aaron Cohen, is led by the creators and producers of the 30 for 30 series, Michael Jordan docuseries The Last Dance, and the Oscar-winning O.J.: Made in America.