If you set your DVR to record “Space Shuttle Columbia: Mission of Hope” on PBS beginning Jan. 31, pay close attention to the credits.

The documentary, which tells the story of  why a tiny Torah scroll that survived the Holocaust was entrusted to Israeli astronaut Ilan Ramon on Columbia’s ill-fated STS-107 mission, was a labor of love for former NASA Chief of Staff Courtney Stadd before he was sent to prison in 2011 for defrauding his former employer. 

Stadd began working on the film several years ago with Emmy Award-winning TV producer Dan Cohen, the film’s director. PBS’s website for the documentary lists Stadd as co-executive producer.

Stadd, who has served nearly two years of his 41-month sentence, is due to be released from the Morgantown Federal Correctional Institution in West Virginia in January 2014, according to the Federal Bureau of Prisons’ inmate tracker website.


Brian Berger is editor in chief of SpaceNews.com and the SpaceNews magazine. He joined SpaceNews.com in 1998, spending his first decade with the publication covering NASA. He was named senior staff writer in 2004, a position he held...