I am reading a screenplay of movie Interstellar. At the beginning of the movie the actor is shown trying to control his buffeting aircraft. He is given the following instructions from the control room:

Crossing the Straights ... shutting
it down, Cooper. Shutting it all
down ...

What does "Crossing the straights" mean in above sentence?

See link to watch the corresponding clip LINK

  • 2
    If he were in a boat near Gibraltar, the Straights would be clearly defined. In a work of fiction, an analogous passage in space might be intended. Jun 28, 2017 at 9:44
  • 4
    It's actually Straits not "straights", and refers to a narrow body of water (Straits of Gibraltar, Straits of Dover, etc).
    – Andrew Leach
    Jun 28, 2017 at 11:23
  • The Straits of Gibraltar, in particular, is an area reputed to have very turbulent waters.
    – Hot Licks
    Jun 28, 2017 at 11:32

2 Answers 2


Though I have never heard the specific phrasing "crossing the straits", perhaps it is referring the following definition:

Strait [streyt] /noun

  1. (Often straits) a position of difficulty, distress, or need.

Source: Dictionary.com

If this is accurate, perhaps the phrase would mean, "crossing" the threshold into a level of serious distress. Hence the command stops the tests by powering down the aircraft, rather than allowing the test to continue.

Alternately, if it may be referencing a specific geographic location being used as a landmark in the test. However, I don't believe there is any way to corroborate that, since there is neither visual indication in the movie shot, nor any reference to it elsewhere in the film.

Strait [streyt] /noun

  1. (Often straits, used with a singular verb) a narrow passage of water connecting two large bodies of water.

Source: Dictionary.com

  • No: it's just wrong.
    – Andrew Leach
    Jun 28, 2017 at 11:29

I think it is a shortening for the stratosphere. Later in the movie Cooper says "i have barely left the stratosphere" --> when the aircraft/spaceship was shut down he was just on his way to cross the stratosphere --> the man in the control room must refer to the stratosphere when he says "crossing the straights" (or maybe strats?)

It could also refer to a a narrow passage of water connecting two seas or two other large areas of water.

Read here for more information about the crash: https://interstellarfilm.fandom.com/wiki/Ranger_Test_Ship

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