In less than two weeks, “Transformers: Dark of the Moon,” has grossed more than $261 million at the box office. And along with the big-name actors involved, other stars of the movie are NASA workers, locations, and technologies.

Director Michael Bay and his production team set up their cameras at Kennedy Space Center in Florida for a week last October. The cast and crew filmed at Launch Pad 39A where Space Shuttle Discovery stood awaiting its STS-133 mission, inside the Vehicle Assembly Building (VAB), at an orbiter processing facility, and at the Space Station Processing Facility.

The movie’s top stars found it easy to get excited about real-life space technology during the filming, even though they're acting opposite computer-generated creatures that convert from robots to vehicles and back. "It's kind of hard to believe that you're standing in front of the shuttle over here,” said Paul Turturro, who plays Agent Simmons. "When you see something for real, you kind of have to keep looking at it."

Kennedy was a natural backdrop for a science fiction story, said Lorenzo di Bonaventura, one of the film's producers. "The idea of the space program always was how to get in contact with others, so we've brought the 'Transformers' to the shuttle," said di Bonaventura. "The Kennedy Space Center has always been this sort of mythical thing, I think, for me. You imagine it out there and then you come here and you realize how many people are working here and what this kind of endeavor entails."

Click here  to learn more about NASA’s role in the summer blockbuster.

NASA Tech Briefs Magazine

This article first appeared in the July, 2011 issue of NASA Tech Briefs Magazine.

Read more articles from this issue here.

Read more articles from the archives here.