Russian actor, director blast off to make first movie in space

Actor Yulia Peresild and director Klim Shipenko will be in space for 12 days to record scenes of the film, Challenge.

The Soyuz MS-19 spacecraft carrying the crew - Russian cosmonaut Anton Shkaplerov, film director Klim Shipenko and actress Yulia Peresild - blasts off to the ISS from the launchpad at the Baikonur Cosmodrome, Kazakhstan [Roscosmos handout/Reuters]

A Russian actor and a film director have rocketed into space on a landmark mission to make the world’s first movie in orbit.

Actor Yulia Peresild and director Klim Shipenko blasted off on Tuesday for the International Space Station (ISS) together with cosmonaut Anton Shkaplerov, a veteran of three space missions.

Their Russian Soyuz MS-19 lifted off as scheduled at 08:55 GMT from the Russian space launch facility in Baikonur, Kazakhstan, and successfully reached the designated orbit.

Peresild and Klimenko are set to film scenes of a new movie titled Challenge, in which a surgeon, played by Peresild, rushes to the space station to save a crew member with a heart condition.

After 12 days on the space outpost, they are set to return to Earth with another Russian cosmonaut.

Hours before takeoff, the trio arrived at the launchpad clad in heavy spacesuits, waving to crowds as they boarded the spacecraft.

“For me, space is alluring, welcoming and has no boundaries,” said Peresild, who was chosen from 3,000 candidates for the role.

Shipenko, who has made several commercially successful movies, described their fast-track, four-month preparation for the flight as tough.

“Of course, we couldn’t make many things at the first try, and sometimes even at a third attempt. But it’s normal,” he said.

The 38-year-old director said he will finish the shooting on Earth after filming space episodes.

Shkaplerov and two other Russian cosmonauts on board the station are said to have cameo roles.

Russia’s state-controlled Channel One television, which is involved in making the movie, extensively covered the crew’s training and launch.

“I’m in shock. I still can’t imagine that my mum is out there,” Peresild’s daughter, Anna, said in televised remarks minutes after the launch.

Dmitry Rogozin, head of the Russian state space corporation Roscosmos, was a key force behind the project, describing it as a chance to burnish the nation’s space glory.

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.

“Not only do we need to make a film, we need to come back to Earth alive,” Shkaplerov said.

Source: News Agencies