Fight For Space,” the 2016 documentary, by Paul Hildebrandt, is somewhat dated, coming out as it did during the doldrums of the NASA space program of the Obama years. However, the film is still a worthy historical document that deserves a fresh look in light of the trump administration’s drive to revive space exploration, focusing on commercial partnerships and a return to the moon.

Why are we still stuck in low Earth orbit?

Fight for Space” combines period footage with modern interviews with such luminaries as Neil deGrasse Tyson, Apollo 13 astronaut Jim Lovell, Michio Kaku, and space activist Jim Muncy.

Most of the film struggles with the question, why did we stop going to the moon after the Apollo program? Why are we not on Mars? Indeed, why are we stuck in low Earth orbit? The film covers some of the same ground that my book “Why is it so Hard to Go Back to the Moon?” but in a visual medium.

The answers to those questions depend on who one asks. Was it bad presidential leadership? Was it liberals in Congress? It was the end of the Cold War (which happened, by the way, about 20 years after Apollo). It was the lack of a profit motive for space exploration. One gets the impression that all of those answers are valid and more.

“Fight for Space” captures neatly the wistfulness, and sometimes downright despair, that many in the Apollo generation feel about the lack of progress in direct contradiction to the promise of the space age when men first walked on the moon.

The 1968 film “2001: A Space Odyssey” neatly captures what people thought the Apollo program would lead to. The reality has been somewhat dispiriting.

Reaction to the documentary

Rotten Tomatoes gives “Fight for Space” a 100 percent rating based on five reviews. The film has met with a positive reaction with audiences. The movie is available on Amazon and other venues.

Viewing the film in the Trump space era

“Fight for Space” could be viewed with a different perspective now that President Donald Trump has set America’s course back to the moon, with commercial partnerships. Thus the film can be looked at with a sense of renewed hope, even though the political fights are likely to continue and could sink the third attempt to break out of low Earth orbit in a generation.

Hopefully, if Hildebrandt is moved to produce a sequel, it will depict a more hopeful reality.

Paul Hildebrandt’s next movie

Hildebrandt is currently working on his next documentary film, “First to the Moon,” about the mission of Apollo 8, for which he is raising funds on Kickstarter. He has already raised the $50,000 he needs to complete the film in time for the 50th anniversary of the lunar orbital mission. He is currently shooting for a stretch goal of $100,000 to improve the quality of the film.