Lights, Camera, Action’ will be heard in space, the Russian team will leave today to shoot the film
In a historic first, Russia has launched an actor and a film director into space to make a feature film in orbit a project the nation’s space chief has hailed as a chance to raise the prestige of Russia’s space program.
Actor Yulia Peresild and director Klim Shipenko blasted off Tuesday for the International Space Station in a Russian Soyuz spacecraft together with cosmonaut Anton Shkaplerov, a veteran of three space missions. A Russian crew of two cosmonauts, a movie director and an actress blasted off for the International Space Station (ISS) on Tuesday to shoot the first movie in space, the latest twist in decades of Russia-U.S. space rivalry.
The Soyuz MS-19 spacecraft is set to dock at 1212 GMT at the station, which orbits Earth at an altitude of around 220 miles (354 km). The movie will tell 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 be treated. The three space travelers will launch aboard a Soyuz MS-19 spacecraft from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan at 4:55 a.m. ET on Tuesday. The speedy Soyuz will deliver them to the space station around 8:12 a.m. Russian state media provided blanket and patriotic coverage in the run-up, with a countdown clock running on Channel One and news anchors framing the development as a significant breakthrough by Russia that the rest of the world is watching closely.
Shkaplerov took manual controls to smoothly dock the spacecraft at the space outpost after a glitch in an automatic docking system. The trio reported they were feeling fine and spacecraft systems were functioning normally. Peresild and Klimenko are to film segments of a new movie titled “Challenge,” in which a surgeon played by Peresild rushes to the space station to save a crew member who needs an urgent operation in orbit. After 12 days on the space outpost, they are set to return to Earth with another Russian cosmonaut. Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said the mission will help showcase Russia’s space prowess. The current crew on the space station, including European Space Agency astronaut Thomas Pesquet, NASA astronauts Mark Vande Hei, Shane Kimbrough and Megan McArthur, Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency astronaut Aki Hoshide, and Roscosmos cosmonauts Oleg Novitskiy and Pyotr Dubrov, will all welcome the trio aboard when the hatch opens around 9:30 a.m.
Live coverage of these events will be available on NASA’s TV channel and website. The ISS is no stranger to visits from space tourists, and films have been recorded in space before. In the 1980s, astronauts onboard the early Space Shuttle flights brought IMAX cameras with them to record footage, which was compiled into a documentary called The Dream is Alive. And when video game developer Richard Garriott flew to the space station in 2008 as a paying space tourist, he filmed a short science fiction film called Apogee of Fear. It was the first fictional movie completely shot in space, though it was less than eight minutes long. The Challenge is set to be the first feature-length film to include scenes shot in space.