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Watch Astronaut Walk Up ISS Wall in '2001: A Space Odyssey' Grip Shoes

Samantha Cristoforetti proves the Velcro footwear from Stanley Kubrick's masterpiece work in real space life.

Amanda Kooser
Freelance writer Amanda C. Kooser covers gadgets and tech news with a twist for CNET. When not wallowing in weird gear and iPad apps for cats, she can be found tinkering with her 1956 DeSoto.
Amanda Kooser
2 min read
A Pan Am space plane flight attendant dressed in all white walks up the side of a circular hallway.
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A Pan Am space plane flight attendant dressed in all white walks up the side of a circular hallway.

ESA astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti dressed up as a space plane flight attendant while on the ISS.

2011 video screenshot by Amanda Kooser/CNET

European Space Agency astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti contains multitudes. The current International Space Station resident has been a Star Trek captain, a hotshot pilot from Battlestar Galactica and the star of the movie Gravity. Now, in what may be Cristoforetti's wildest cosplay yet, she's a flight attendant who's walking up walls. 

On Friday, Cristoforetti tweeted a photo of herself floating in microgravity on the ISS while dressed as a Pan Am flight attendant from Stanley Kubrick's groundbreaking 2001: A Space Odyssey. In the movie, the flight attendant wears a white uniform with special Velcro "grip shoes" made to stick to the floor of the space plane.

Cristoforetti's photo shows a scene from the movie projected across her torso. "I had to know… can you really walk in space with Velcro shoes?" the astronaut tweeted.

The astronaut followed her initial photo with a video on Saturday set to the epic theme music from 2001. The theatrical short shows a spacecraft docking to the ISS, then cuts to Cristoforetti walking around in a circle up a wall in the same manner as one of the flight attendant's scenes from the film.

Cristoforetti tweeted, "2022 A Space Odyssey. Turns out, yes, you can walk with Velcro shoes. Slowly, very very slowly."

Cristoforetti's latest sci-fi tribute is a testament to her ability to engage the public in space exploration. It's also a reminder of just how impressive Kubrick's visual effects were for 2001, a movie that debuted in 1968.

Cristoforetti had the advantage of filming in real microgravity. Kubrick achieved the original walking-up-a-wall effect by using a rotating set. The result is still stunning, even in this age of high-tech computer graphics. 

The astronaut arrived for her latest ISS stay in April as part of the SpaceX Crew-4 mission. She's due back on Earth later this month, but she'll return as a space cosplay champion.