Smithsonian Channel, a joint venture between Showtime and the Smithsonian Institution, is set to honor Black History Month with a new documentary film about the world’s first Black astronauts.
Black in Space: Breaking the Color Barrier explores how the Space Race was more than a Cold War competition for political victory. It was also a massive American effort that coincided with important milestones in the Civil Rights movement, as protests against racial inequality flared across the nation.
The film tells the story of several African American pioneers of the Space Race, including Edward Dwight, a U.S. Air Force pilot and early NASA contender; Guion Bluford, the first African American to go to space; Frederick Gregory, the first African American to pilot and command a NASA mission; and Ronald McNair, who tragically died in the Challenger disaster; as well as the Soviet Union’s Cuban Air Force pilot Arnaldo Tamayo Méndez, a cosmonaut and national hero.
Black in Space: Breaking the Color Barrier is produced by Brook Lapping Productions for Smithsonian Networks, in collaboration with the National Museum of African American History and Culture. It is directed by Laurens Grant, with Roy Ackerman serving as executive producer for Brook Lapping. Charles Poe and David Royle are executive producers for Smithsonian Channel.
The doc will premiere on Smithsonian Channel Feb. 24 at 8 p.m. ET/PT. It will also be available to stream on Smithsonian Channel Plus beginning Feb. 1.
Watch a sneak peek below: