The Explorer Space Shuttle was a major setting in Gravity.
Role in Gravity
During the mission, the shuttle was hit by the debris from a satellite and was destroyed. Captain Evans and Thomas are both on board and died from space exposure while Dasari was killed when a debris piece impaled him through the head. Dr. Stone and Commander Kowalski are the only survivors from the Explorer. (Kowalski later died from Hypoxia and Hypercapnia while Stone survived). It was unknown whether the spaceship was still floating around Earth or if it entered the Earth's atmosphere or crashed somewhere on Earth.
- Its appearance in this film is somewhat of an anachronism. The Space Shuttle program ended in July 2011 and the Tiangong-1 was launched after the Shuttle missions stopped.
- Alfonso Cuarón states that he used the shuttle in the film because he wanted the audience to relate to space travel. Even though the shuttle program was ended, he wanted the audience to identify with it.
- The Explorer may be named after the space shuttle replica Independence, which was originally named Explorer.