Graduate’s documentary looks at the next generation of women in aerospace

Date posted

25 November 2019


A recent Edinburgh Napier TV graduate is boldly going where no previous TV graduate has gone before with his debut documentary film. 

Adam Smith – who graduated from Edinburgh Napier in July this year – has recently released ‘Space Queens’; his first feature documentary that takes an in depth look at the women behind Apollo 11’s mission to the moon. Filmmaker Adam Smith in studio

Produced for his final year project at Edinburgh Napier, the film features some of the key women from the last 50 years at NASA, as well as looking forward to the organisation’s return to the moon and the first manned mission to Mars scheduled for 2020. 

The film is already gaining interest with streaming platforms and festivals and has been selected for screening at next year’s Edinburgh Science Festival alongside being made available to watch on Amazon Prime. In doing so, Adam has become the first Edinburgh Napier TV student to have his work selected for the streaming service. 

Sci-fi fan Adam filmed the documentary throughout his last year at the University which included a two week trip to Florida to film within NASA’s headquarters and the Kennedy Space Centre. He was supported in his trip with a grant from the Santander Universities Mobility Fund. 

The 25 year-old’s film features an interview with Christina Korp, former manager of Apollo 11 moonwalker Buzz Aldrin, alongside NASA civil engineer Barbara Kennedy, and Mimi Aung, project lead at the NASA Jet Propulsion Lab in California. Mimi is leading a team that aims to land a helicopter on Mars next year. 

For Edinburgh-born Adam, the early success of the film is justification for sticking to his guns and undertaking the ambitious final year project. 

He said: “I’m not really a person that takes no for an answer and when I pitched the idea to the TV team and fellow students at Edinburgh Napier, you should have seen their faces! However, I was grateful for the willingness from people to get involved and I’m glad I persisted with my original idea. 

“I had to be quite creative in tracking down my interviewees for the project – a student getting permission to film at NASA’s headquarters in America is no mean task. But through social media and lots of phone calls, I soon made progress and thanks to funding from Santander, I was soon on my way to Florida for filming. Adam Smith at NASA

“It was a fantastic experience. I teamed up with a couple of students from neighbouring Full Sail University in Florida to help with the filming and they were great – a massive help to me and to the film. The women I spoke to were so generous with their time and their passion for all things space really comes across in the film. These women have helped develop space travel as we know it today but it was also good to speak with the next generation who were inspired by these pioneers. 

“I’m happy that the film is being well-received and it’s such a buzz to see it on Amazon Prime and being selected for major festivals like the Edinburgh Science Festival. I’m going to continue to push it over the next few months and who knows where it might lead.

“I’m so thankful for all those that have believed in the film so far. From those who have watched it, to people who supported me like my lecturer Kirsten McLeod and to those who are featured in it – I really couldn’t have done it without you all.”

Space Queens can be viewed on Amazon Prime here.

BA (Hons) Television