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Everything We Know About Kristen Stewart’s New Astronaut Show The Challenger

Kristen Stewart is headed to the small screen. It was announced that the Twilight actress would be playing astronaut Sally Ride in a new limited TV series called The Challenger, based on the 2022 Meredith Bagby book, The New Guys: The Historic Class of Astronauts That Broke Barriers and Changed the Face of Space Travel.

Here’s what we know about the upcoming show so far.

What is The Challenger about?

Ride is well-known as the very first American woman to fly into outer space and NASA’s first LGBTQIA+ astronaut. Her 1978 NASA space shuttle class was also the very first to have members who were not white men and included the first Black and Asian American astronauts as well as a number of other women. The story told by Bagby highlights the challenges faced by Ride and her classmates as they made barrier-breaking steps into the world of space exploration.

Later in life, Ride was the only astronaut on the Rogers Commission, which investigated the 1986 Challenger disaster. She was the person who ultimately determined that the shuttle fell apart when the vehicle’s o-rings became stiff in the unexpectedly colder weather. She was posthumously awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2013, one year after her death at 61.

Kyra Sedgwick and Valerie Stadler are developing the project with Big Swing Productions, and Sedgwick gave her perspective on the potential narrative in a statement to Deadline.

“The focus is this newly recruited wild, feral group of astronauts who were all very diverse,” Sedgwick said. “And then on an Oppenheimer track, it also tells the story of the Rogers Commission that investigated the Challenger disaster that Ride took part in. Growing up in Florida, Meredith Bagby was obsessed with space and the shuttle, and she also watched the Challenger explode. Meredith got hundreds of hours of interviews with the members of that class, and we have relationships with all those living astronauts and they will be part of our brain trust on the show.”

Who is in The Challenger?

The Challenger will notably be Stewart’s television debut after the actress’s many films.

“Valerie had this dream of having Kristen Stewart, and after more than a year of trying to get Kristen this book through back channeling, she read it and she fell in love,” Sedgwick shared.

The show will be produced by Steven Spielberg’s Amblin Partners and Stewart’s production company, Nevermind. The writer and showrunner of the series is Maggie Cohn, known for her work on American Crime Story, The Staircase, and Narcos: Mexico.

When will the show be released?

Reportedly, Amazon is hoping to release the series on the anniversary of the Challenger disaster, January 28, but the specific year was not mentioned.

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