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Space Shuttle Lives Forever on Film

As NASA readies last flight, we find 5 movies where the shuttle stars

Superman Returns

Brandon Routh stars in Superman Returns. — Photo by Warner Bros/Courtesy Everett Collection

Superman Returns (2006)

This may be the last notable appearance of the shuttle in a Hollywood movie — and it's a doozy. In a revolutionary launch strategy, NASA, clearly failing to learn from its disastrous experience in Moonraker, attempts to send a shuttle roaring into space from the back of a 747. But the explosive bolts fail (prompting an angry call, I suppose, to my in-laws' old friend back in California) — and the shuttle, still attached to the plane, heads for the ionosphere. Fortunately, Superman has just returned from a five-year hiatus in search of his roots on Krypton. He flies to the rescue, separates the shuttle from the plane and brings the crippled airliner to a safe landing in Dodger Stadium, which, in retrospect, seems to be located in the Bermuda Triangle of shuttle-related mishaps.

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