06 October 2021 Industry News

Russian crew arrives at ISS to film first movie in orbit

Russian actress Yulia Peresild enters the International Space Station on Tuesday as part of a mission to film a movie in space. Image: NASA
Russian actress Yulia Peresild enters the International Space Station on Tuesday as part of a mission to film a movie in space. Image: NASA

A Russian actress and director arrived at the International Space Station (ISS) on Tuesday to begin a 12-day mission to make the first movie in orbit.

The Russian crew is set to beat a Hollywood project that was announced last year by "Mission Impossible" star Tom Cruise together with NASA and Elon Musk's SpaceX.

Actress Yulia Peresild, 37, and film director Klim Shipenko, 38, took off from the Russia-leased Baikonur Cosmodrome in ex-Soviet Kazakhstan as scheduled.

"I'm still, I still feel that it's all a dream," Shipenko said after entering the space station, according to a translator. "Yes, it is almost impossible to believe that this actually all came to reality. I also feel like I'm still dreaming."

They docked at the ISS, behind schedule at 12:22 GMT, after veteran cosmonaut and captain of their spacecraft, Anton Shkaplerov, switched to manual control.

As the hatches opened, the Russian trio floated into the orbital station where they were greeted by two Russian, a French, a Japanese and three NASA astronauts.

"Welcome to the International Space Station," Russian cosmonaut Oleg Novitsky tweeted from the ISS.

The crew travelled in a Soyuz MS-19 spaceship to film scenes for "The Challenge".

The movie's plot, which has been mostly kept under wraps along with its budget, centres around a female surgeon who is dispatched to the ISS to save a cosmonaut.

Shkaplerov, 49, and the two Russian cosmonauts already aboard the ISS are said to have cameo roles in the film.

Konstantin Ernst, the head of the Kremlin-friendly Channel One TV network and a co-producer of the film, said he spoke with the crew as soon as they docked. "They are in good spirits and feel well," Ernst said.

"It was difficult psychologically, physically and emotionally... but I think when we reach our goal all the challenges won't seem so bad," Peresild said at a pre-flight press conference.

Most of the filming will occur in the Russian portion of the space station, but a small part will be filmed on the US side, including the cupola, which provides a 360-degree panoramic view of the external surfaces.

The Russian filmmakers will be escorted into the US section by American astronauts, NASA said.

"The project will be a clear evidence that space flights are gradually becoming available not only to professionals, but also to an increasing number of people," Roscosmos said, explaining that the accelerated training Peresild and Shipenko underwent for the mission will be used in the future to send other specialists, such as doctors and scientists, into space.

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