NASA has confirmed it will show Star Wars: The Last Jedi on the International Space Station. It will likely be sent on a hard drive rather than via satellite.
While NASA hasn’t confirmed much in the way of detail, it appears the movie will be on a drive that’s part of the cargo for the SpaceX Dragon capsule departing this Friday. That’s the refuelling service operated by Elon Musk’s company. The showing is by arrangement with Disney in what is presumably a one-off licensing deal.
There’s no movie theater-style big screen on the ISS, but astronauts can watch video files on a laptop or a 65-inch projector screen while on the station. The screen is also used for making video calls to family members.
As recently as last year astronauts were able to choose from around 500 movies (including Star Trek and Starship Troopers). They also have the option of ordering a limited number of DVDs on cargo deliveries. There is actually a region code (8) that covers DVD playback and compatibility in space, though it’s more commonly used for other venues such as cruise ships that aren’t in a specific country.
Of course, The Last Jedi will be only the second best “space-themed entertainment in space” event, behind Chris Hadfield playing and singing David Bowie’s Space Oddity while on the ISS.