Russia crew to launch to space to film their first movie

Russia will launch an actor and a director of film into space in a historic first -- a project that the country's space chief has called a chance for Russia to improve its space program's prestige.

Russia crew to launch to space to film their first movie

Yulia Peresild, actress, and Klim Shipenko, director, are ready to launch Tuesday for the International Space Station aboard a Russian Soyuz spacecraft. They will be joined by Anton Shkaplerov (a veteran of three space missions). Peresild, Shipenko and another Russian cosmonaut will return to Earth after 12 days at the space station.

Crew members plan to film segments from a new movie called "Challenge", about a surgeon who is summoned to rescue a crew member with a heart condition.

Peresild, speaking at a news conference held at the Russian launch center in Baikonur (Kazakhstan), acknowledged the grueling training but described it as an once-in-a lifetime opportunity.

She said, "It's an unbelievable chance, a miracle."

The actor, 37 years old, admitted that "we worked really hard" and was now tired. However, he said that he is happy and continues to smile. It was difficult psychologically, morally and physically. However, once we reach the goal, it will all seem easy and we'll remember it with a smile."

Peresild stated that it was hard for her to adjust to the rigorous demands and strict discipline during training.

She said, "Here on Baikonur we made friends with all and everyone warmed up." It was difficult at first, because you don't have much choice. Just run, go faster, keep going, and go on. We were not able to do it easily and it was very unexpected. But we persevered.

She stated that learning about the design of and how to handle the spacecraft was the hardest part of the preparations for the flight.

She said, "It wasn't easy for me to be honest." "For the first two week, I was learning it up to 4 every morning for the first 2 weeks. There are many acronyms and you will not understand any other terms if you don’t know them all.

Peresild loved the flight imitating weightlessness. This involves a plane going into a steep dive in order to simulate zero gravity for those within about 20 seconds. Peresild said that she is now ready for her first day in orbit, as zero gravity in orbit could be very different.

She said, "Some mornings can be difficult, even here on Earth." "We did a lot of thinking about it, and the cosmonauts shared some tips."

Shipenko, 38 years old, has been a part of several commercially successful movies. He is most famous for "Kholop" ("Serf") in 2019, which set a Russian box-office record. The training was described as hard.

He said, "Officially, we couldn’t do many things at first try, sometimes even at third attempt, but that’s okay."

He said that the four-month training program was very intense and that Peresild and he were not made professional astronauts by it.

Shipenko stated that he is thrilled to be the first space filmmaker and will continue to explore lighting, camera settings, and other technical aspects. Shipenko stated that once he arrives on the space station, he will continue to wear the same T-shirt he uses every time he starts a new film.

Shkaplerov insists that his entertainment-world crewmates were fully prepared for the flight following their fast-track training.

He stated that no one has ever had such an experience, and that it would be useful in the future to send an expert outside into orbit if necessary.

Dmitry Rogozin (head of Roscosmos Russian state space corporation) was a major driving force behind this project. Rogozin said that making the first film in space was a chance for Russia to increase its space prestige.

He stated that movies have "long been a powerful tool of propaganda" in June. He argued that the new film would counter Western attempts to "humiliate the Russian space program."

Russian media were skeptical of the plan, and there were also rumors that some Russians had doubts about the Russian space program.

Sergei Krikalev was a decorated veteran of Soviet and Russian space programs. He made six space missions. In June, he was fired as Roscosmos' director for crewed missions. This was in response to what some Russian media called his harsh criticisms of the filmmaking process.

Krikalev was re-instated to his post as director just days later, apparently through the intervention of his well-placed backers. He has not made any public comments about the project.

It is much smaller than the U.S. section, making it difficult to film. After the arrival of the Nauka, a new laboratory module, it was extended in July. It is still being fully integrated into the station.

The three newcomers will be joining Thomas Pesquet, NASA astronaut Mark Vande Hei and Shane Kimbrough, and Aki Hoshide, Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency. They will also join Oleg Novitskiy, Pyotr Dubrov, and Oleg Novitskiy, Roscosmos cosmonauts.

Shipenko stated that Shkaplerov and Novitskiy will be part of a new film. However, the details of filmmaking plans are sketchy. Novitskiy will play the role of the ailing cosmonaut. The film's captain will be in a Soyuz capsule that will transport the crew back to Earth in Oct. 17.

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