Film shoot on the ISS: Russia wants to be faster than the USA

The Soviet Union launched the first satellite, the first human – and even the first dog. Now Russia wants to shoot the first feature film high above the earth in weightlessness. A film team is scheduled to fly to the International Space Station ISS next Tuesday (October 5th). The Russian actress Julia Peressild and the director Klim Schipenko will take off with a Soyuz rocket from the Baikonur spaceport in the steppe of Kazakhstan in Central Asia.

The action in a nutshell is as follows: A cosmonaut falls ill in a space station and loses consciousness. He would not survive the return flight to Earth. So, without further ado, a doctor is sent to the outpost of humanity to save the spaceman. In weightlessness she is supposed to perform heart surgery.

The doctor is played by 37-year-old Peressild, who has a daughter in the film and only lives for her job. Unlike many Hollywood actors, she will actually fly into space and not shoot in front of a studio setting. 35 minutes of the film took place in space, wrote the government newspaper “Rossiyskaya Gazeta”.

The preparations for this have been going on for months. Like any other spaceman, the two film people had to go through tough training. Nothing is left to chance. “We’re already saying here that we’re slowly turning into bats,” joked the actress on Instagram and posted a photo of herself hanging upside down to prepare for weightlessness.

“We plunged into this wonderful world. It was hard, difficult, little sleep,” said Schipenko. A camera is always there to document the grueling cosmonaut program at the same time. The actress can be seen preparing, for example in an airplane. She has to do several somersaults in the air during a flight. She does not see herself as a cosmonaut, at best as a professional tourist, said the protagonist recently.

“Wysow” (challenge) is the working title of the film that the Russian space agency Roskosmos is producing together with the state broadcaster Perwy Kanal. Peressild and director Schipenko are to stay on the ISS for twelve days with the space travelers living there and then return – even before the German space explorer Matthias Maurer flies to the ISS in a private US rocket from Florida at the end of October.

With the film, Russia is once again about being faster than the USA. Because Hollywood star Tom Cruise also wants to fly to the space station for a space shoot. The project was originally announced for this fall, but there is currently not even a fixed start date. Nobody expects this before 2022.

As early as the Cold War, the USA and the former Soviet Union competed in space. While Moscow, with Yuri Gagarin, sent the first man into space in 1961, the American Neil Armstrong was the first man to set foot on the moon in 1969.

So now the race for the first space film. “The first in space” – it says in the addition to the working title. “Our job is simply to keep the lead in everything,” said Roskosmos boss Dmitri Rogozin. Russian state television has already broadcast several videos showing Peressild and Schipenko before departure.

Peressild prevailed among thousands of applicants. She has starred in a good 30 films for almost 20 years and is best known in Russia. The 38-year-old Schipenko has already made a name for himself as the director of a space film: in 2017 with “Salyut 7”, which is a fictional film based on the events of a Soyuz mission to rescue the Soviet space station Salyut 7.

The new film “Challenge” has nothing to do with US blockbusters like “Star Wars” or “Interstellar”. It is also supposed to be a kind of promotional film. Roskosmos speaks of a “unique scientific and educational project” that should also show that anyone can fly into space. Russia wants to earn money with space tourists in the future. A seat in the Soyuz spacecraft is said to cost 50 million US dollars.

On their way to the ISS in Soyuz MS-19, Peressild and Schipenko are accompanied by the cosmonaut Anton Schkaplerow. If someone should get sick, a replacement is available, said Roscosmos.


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