International Space Station Crew Request Film by Grand Valley alumnus

ALLENDALE, Mich. — Grand Valley State University alumnus David J. Ruck’s new film, “I Want to Be an Astronaut,” will have its “orbital premiere” aboard the International Space Station, with an audience of astronauts from around the world.

Developed over the past two years, the 38-minute documentary tells the story of Blair Mason, a young man striving to become an astronaut at a time when space exploration has moved out of the spotlight. Ruck delves into the specifics of what it takes to be an astronaut and what is being done to keep such dreams within the realm of possibility.

Ruck sent the film’s trailer to Space Station Flight Engineer Rick Mastracchio via Facebook. The astronaut was so intrigued, he asked if it was possible to view the entire film. Working with the Johnson Space Center to facilitate an upload, Ruck was gladly able to meet his request.

Ruck said he wanted to make a film that explored the human side of the space program and whether or not kids today still dream of being an astronaut. By following Mason from his role as leader of his high school robotics team, to his entry into the U.S. Naval Academy, Ruck discovered a very thoughtful student with a full vision of space exploration, including the political, social and technological issues.

“This film also draws attention to the importance of the STEM education fields — science, technology, engineering and math,” said Ruck, “as they relate to our nation’s ability to remain on the cutting edge, and where we might be headed if we fail to inspire young people to pursue these fields.”

A glimpse into current NASA efforts, amid a post­space­shuttle era, is provided through interviews with some of those who understand it best, including Charles Bolden, a NASA administrator and John Glenn, a Mercury 7 astronaut, the first American to orbit the Earth, and a retired U.S. senator.

Ruck received both bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Grand Valley’s School of Communications in 2004 and 2007, respectively, and earned a Master of Fine Arts degree from The American University, in Washington, D.C. He currently lives in Bethesda, Maryland, and is president of Rubangfilms, a small production company that focuses on subjects that involve science, exploration, history and space.

For more information about the film, visit Learn more about David J. Ruck at

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