October Sky

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October Sky is a 1999 movie set in 1957 in the small town of Coalwood, West Virginia. Four high school boys led by Homer Hickam, Jr. (played by Jake Gyllenhaal) take up the hobby of model rocketry, inspired by the space race that began with the Soviet Union's launch of the Sputnik satellite.

Coalwood being a coal mining town, it is widely believed the only way to get out of the town is to get a college scholarship as a football player, and otherwise you go to work in the coal mines, but the boys in the rocket club have other goals in mind. They diligently refine their amateur pyrotechnics over the objections of a few in the town who think the hobby is "dangerous", and eventually enter a science fair and win. This leads to college scholarships, and eventually, a career at NASA for Homer Hickam, Jr.

October Sky was filmed in several East Tennessee locations, especially Petros and Oliver Springs which are coal mining communities in their own right.

The movie was based on the autobiographical book Rocket Boys by Homer Hickam, Jr. "October Sky" is an anagram of "Rocket Boys" and also refers to the Soviet launch of Sputnik in October, 1957.

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