NASA has reversed an earlier decision to block the release of the first science fiction movie filmed in space.
Dubbed "Apogee of Fear," and based on a screenplay written by Tracy Hickman, the eight-minute amateur sci-fi clip shot by Richard Garriott tells the story of an alien entity hiding somewhere on the International Space Station (ISS).
Although the film is obviously little more than harmless fun, the space agency had adamantly refused to allow the clip to hit the public domain - despite requests from prominent institutions like the Smithsonian (Note: Garriott showed the unauthorized clip to a small group at DragonCon 2011, seen above).
"NASA has, so far, decided that since it's filmed onboard NASA hardware and uses NASA astronauts as actors, they have resisted me releasing it publicly," Garriott told Space.com earlier this month. "It's too playful... It's just not their message."
Unsurprisingly, Garriott’s story sparked a storm of controversy on the Internet, prompting the space agency to reconsider its rather strange attitude towards Apogee of Fear.
"NASA is working with Richard Garriott to facilitate the video’s release. While the project was not part of his original Space Act agreement with NASA, everyone involved had the best of intentions," NASA spokesperson Bob Jacobs told Wired.
"We hope to resolve the remaining issues expeditiously, and we appreciate Richard’s cooperation and his ongoing efforts to get people excited about the future of space exploration."
It should be noted that Garriott - a video game designer - spent some $30 million of his own cash to be a tourist on board the station. "Man on a Mission," a film documenting Garriott's long journey to the ISS, has already hit theaters.