Russian crew to shoot first movie in space
Published : Wednesday, 6 October, 2021 at 10:09 AM Count : 809
A Russian actress and director yesterday arrived at the International Space Station (ISS) in a bid to best the United States and film 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.
But they belatedly docked at the ISS at 1222 GMT after veteran cosmonaut Anton Shkaplerov switched to manual control.
"Welcome to the ISS!" Russia's space agency Roscosmos said on Twitter.
The crew travelled in a Soyuz MS-19 spaceship for a 12-day mission at the ISS to film scenes for "The Challenge".
The movie's plot, which has been mostly kept under wraps along with its budget, was revealed by Roscosmos to centre around a female surgeon who is dispatched to the ISS to save a cosmonaut.
Shkaplerov and two other Russian cosmonauts aboard the ISS are said to have cameo roles in the film.
The ISS crew, which also includes a French, a Japanese and three Nasa astronauts, welcomed the newcomers when the hatch opened at around 1410 GMT.
"It was difficult psychologically, physically and emotionally... but I think when we reach our goal all the challenges won't seem so bad," Peresild -- who was selected out of 3,000 applicants for the role -- said at a pre-flight press conference on Monday.
True to a pre-flight tradition religiously observed by cosmonauts, the crew said that on Sunday they watched the classic Soviet film "The White Sun of the Desert".
Shipenko and Peresild are expected to return to Earth on October 17 in a capsule with cosmonaut Oleg Novitsky, who has been on the ISS for the past six months.
"Space is where we became pioneers, where despite everything we maintain a fairly confident position," Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters yesterday.
If successful, the mission will add to a long list of firsts for Russia's space industry.
The Soviets launched the first satellite Sputnik, and sent the first animal, a dog named Laika, the first man, Yuri Gagarin, and the first woman, Valentina Tereshkova, into orbit.