After spending around 12 days on the International Space Station, a Russian actor and a film director have safely landed as scheduled on Kazakhstan’s steppe.
Yulia Peresild and Klim Shipenko were filming scenes in the orbit for The Challenge. They took off from the Russia-leased Baikonur Cosmodrone in Kazakhstan earlier this month and travelled to the ISS with Anton Shkaplerov, a veteran cosmonaut. The crew was ferried back to earth by cosmonaut Oleg Novitsky. “The descent vehicle of the crewed spacecraft Soyuz MS-18 is standing upright and is secure. The crew are feeling good!” Russian space agency Roscosmos tweeted.
The plot of the movie centres on a surgeon who is dispatched to the ISS to save a cosmonaut. Shkaplerov and two other Russian cosmonauts are said to have played cameos in the film. The crew’s landing on terra firma will also feature in the movie, Konstantin Ernst, co-producer of The Challenge said.
Peresild, who was selected among the 3000-odd applications for the role, said that it had been difficult psychologically, physically and emotionally. “But I think when we reach our goal all the challenges won’t seem so bad,” he added.
In hindsight, with the arrival of Soyuz MS-19 spaceship, Russia has most likely trumped USA in the race for the first film shot in space. Last year, the head of NASA revealed that Tom Cruise was in talks with the agency and Elon Musk’s SpaceX for filming a movie in space. “We need popular media to inspire a new generation of engineers and scientists to make NASA’s ambitious plans a reality,” Jim Bridenstine, the then NASA administrator tweeted.
In September, Cruise took part in a call with four space tourists who orbited more than 360 miles high in SpaceX’s first privately chartered flight. He also got a sneak-peak preview of what it is like to orbit Earth in a SpaceX capsule.