Russian actor and director launches first movie made in space together with cosmonaut

Veteran Russian cosmonaut Anton Shkaplerov, actor Yulia Peresild and film producer Klim Shipenko travel to the International Space Station On Tuesday. Peresild and Shipenko will shoot segments for the movie “Challenge” — the first feature film set in space.

The film tells the story of a surgeon who has to operate on a sick cosmonaut in space because his medical condition prevents him from returning to Earth to receive treatment.

The three space travelers will launch Tuesday at 4:55 a.m. ET aboard a Soyuz MS-19 spacecraft from the Baikonur cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. The speedy Soyuz will deliver them to the space station around 8:12 am

The current space station crew, including astronaut Thomas Pesquet of the European Space Agency, NASA astronauts Mark Vande Hei, Shane Kimbrough and Megan McArthur, astronaut Aki Hoshide of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency and Roscosmos cosmonauts Oleg Novitskiy and Pyotr Dubrov trio all welcome. on board when the hatch opens around 9.30am

Live coverage of these events will be available on NASA’s TV channel and website.
“The launch marks the expansion of commercial space capabilities into feature film making,” according to a NASA release. The film is being made under a commercial agreement between Roscosmos and Moscow-based media entities Channel One and studio Yellow, Black and White, the agency said.

It’s a short stay for the first visitors to the space station Peresild and Shipenko, who will film on the space station for 12 days before returning to Earth on October 16. Novitskiy will be accompanied by Novitskiy on their return journey.

Shkaplerov will remain on the space station and will return to Earth in March with Vande Hei and Dubrov on the Soyuz MS-19 spacecraft. When Vande Hei lands on the space station after his 355 consecutive days, he will have completed the longest single spaceflight by an astronaut in U.S. history, according to NASA.

A few movies were shot aboard the space station, including a 2002 IMAX documentary narrated by Tom Cruise. “Apogee of Fear,” a 2012 science fiction film clocked in at about eight minutes, was also filmed in space by entrepreneur and space tourist Richard Garriott, the son of an astronaut.

But Russia is slated to become the first country to shoot a feature film in space.

Peresild and Shipenko, well-known in Russia, were selected after the Russian space agency Roscosmos opened a competition for candidates in November. Peresild appeared in a number of Russian films and TV series, while I was one of Russia’s highest-grossing films.

The two civilians underwent rigorous training prior to their space journey. Along with understudies, the actor and director prepared through centrifuge and vibration testing, zero-gravity training flights, and parachute training, all of which were covered by Channel One.

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The crew has practiced shooting, filming and equipment they will communicate with on the space station.

Other cosmonauts on board, including Novitskiy, will assist and act as part of the film crew, as their resources are more limited in the space environment. The astronauts’ schedules on the space station are already well choreographed so they can work on experiments and take care of necessary maintenance tasks and other priorities.

The film “is part of a large-scale scientific and educational project, which also includes a series of documentaries about the rocket and space companies and specialists involved in the production of launch vehicles, spacecraft and ground infrastructure. The project will become a clear example of the fact that spaceflights are gradually becoming available not only to professionals, but also to an increasingly wide range of interested parties,” said Roscosmos.
Tom Cruise and director Doug Liman revealed in 2020 that they were collaborating with NASA on a film that would be shot in space. The project is being developed in collaboration with SpaceX from Elon Musk. Reports have suggested that Cruise’s sojourn on the space station could also take place in October, but no definite date for his launch has been shared – although he did speak to the all-civilian SpaceX Inspiration 4 crew during their recent trip to space.

Jackie Wattles, Olga Pavlova and Sara Spary contributed to this report.

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