A Russian actress and film director left for space on Tuesday on a mission to make the world’s first film in orbit, the Kremlin says the project will help brighten the country’s space glory.
Actress Yulia Perceld and director Klim Shipenko set off for the International Space Station in a Russian spacecraft with Anton Shaklirov, an experienced astronaut on three space missions. The Soyuz MS-19 left the Russian Space Launch Center at Baikonur, Kazakhstan, at 1:55 p.m., and arrived at the station about 3 1/2 hours later.
Following the failure of the automated docking system, Shikaplarov took manual control of the spacecraft’s uninterrupted docking at the space station.
All three reported that they were feeling well and that the spacecraft’s system was working normally.
Pearsild and Klemenko will film scenes from a film called “Challenge,” in which a surgeon paid by Pearsild is sent to the space station in an emergency so that a crew member needs an immediate operation in orbit. After 12 days on the space station, they will be ready to return to Earth with another Russian astronaut.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said the mission would help demonstrate Russia’s space power.
“We have been leading the way in space and have maintained a position of confidence,” Peskov said. “These missions that help generalize our achievements and space research in general are the best for the country.”
In a pre-flight press conference on Monday, Pierseld, 37, admitted that it was a challenge for him to be disciplined and adjust to strict demands during training.
“It was difficult psychologically, physically and morally,” he said. “But I think once we get to the goal, it won’t be that difficult and we’ll remember it with a smile.”
Shipenko, 38, who has made several commercially successful films, also described his four-month rapid flight preparation as difficult.
“Of course, we couldn’t do much on the first try and sometimes on the third try, but that’s normal,” he said.
Shapenko, who will complete filming on Earth after filming the space scenes, said that Shakiplarov and two other Russian astronauts are now aboard the station, while Oleg Novotsky and Pyotr Dubrov will take part in the new film.
Russian television’s state-run Channel 1, which is involved in filmmaking, covers staff training and launches extensively.
“I’m shocked. I still can’t imagine my mother being out,” Pearsled’s daughter Anna said on television minutes after the launch, seeing tears in her eyes.
Dmitry Rogozin, director of the Russian state space corporation Roscosmos, was a key force behind the plan, which he described as an opportunity to brighten up the nation’s space and deflect criticism from some Russian news outlets.
“I hope this project will help draw attention to our space program,” Rogozin told reporters Tuesday. “We need a better concept of space research. Space needs to be presented in a more professional and intelligent way.
After congratulating the crew on a successful docking, Rogozin said he edited the film’s script himself to accurately reflect the realities of space flight.
“We describe some real emergencies that may occur there,” he said. According to the script, the film’s astronaut needs immediate surgery after colliding with a space debris.
However, some observers have argued that the film project will distract Russian staff and that filming on the Russian side of the International Space Station could be uncomfortable, much less extensive than the US part. In July, a new laboratory module was added to the Russia section, Noka, but it has not yet been fully integrated into the station.
On the space station, three newcomers were added by Thomas Pesket, the station commander of the European Space Agency. NASA astronauts Mark Wande, Shane Combro and Megan MacArthur, Roscosmos Novitskiy and Dubrov astronauts; And Aki Hoshide of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency.
After the hatch opened between Soyuz and the station, the three of them smiled and hugged the station staff.
“I think I’m dreaming,” Perseld said during a brief television connection with the Mission Control Center in Moscow.
“We’ve been waiting for this for so long and we really feel like a dream,” Shenko echoed the sentiment.
Novotsky, who plays a sick astronaut in the film, will take the captain’s seat in the Soyuz capsule on October 17 to take the film crew back to Earth.
Before Russia took the initiative to shoot feature films in space, NASA talked to actor Tom Cruise about the possibility of making a film in orbit.
NASA confirmed last year that it had talked with Cruise about filming on the International Space Station, which was provided by SpaceX. In May 2020, Cruz was reported to be working on a project with directors Doug Lyman, Elon Musk and NASA.
Last month, representatives of SpaceX’s first private charter flight reported that the actor took part in a call with four astronauts orbiting at an altitude of more than 585 kilometers (360 miles).
Lyman told the AP that producer PJ Van Sandwick approached him for “Mission Impossible” and asked if he wanted to shoot a film in outer space. Details have been largely sealed and no recent updates on the plans have been released, but in January, Lyman said they are moving forward.
“There are a lot of technical things we’re working on,” Lehman said. “It’s really interesting because when you make a movie with Tom Cruise, you have to put things on screen that no one has seen before.”