A film crew has been given permission to go to the International Space Station (ISS) for shooting a movie after they were deemed fit for flight by the experts. US space agency NASA has also been working on a similar project with actor Tom Cruise.
A Soyuz rocket lifted off from Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan, carrying a Russian actress Yulia Peresild, movie director Klim Shipenko and cosmonaut Anton Shkaplerov to the International Space Station on October 5, according to The New York Times.
Russian space agency Roscosmos said both Peresild and Shipenko as well as their backup crew had been “recognized as fit for space flight for health”.
Upon reaching the ISS, Peresild and Shipenko will begin shooting their movie, which they have named “Challenge”. The movie is a joint production of Moscow-based film studio Yellow, Black, and White, Russia’s Channel One as well as Roscosmos.
In the movie, Peresild plays the role of a surgeon who has been given the responsibility of saving a cosmonaut who is too sick to be brought back to Earth, The New York Times reported.
“I am not afraid”, Peresild said at a recent news conference, according to the Times. “Fear is normal”.
As part of her training, Peresild was made to go aboard a para-dropping airplane, which flies in a continuous up and down motion, simulating the microgravity of the ISS for 30 seconds at a time. “For the first two seconds it’s scary, after that, it’s beautiful”, The Times quoted her as saying.
According to Roscosmos, this project is supposed to give the message that “space is becoming available not only for professionals but also for an ever-wider range of interested persons”.
Yulia Peresild will be beating Tom Cruise in becoming the first actor to shoot a film in space. Roscosmos had announced this project in November 2020.
NASA Movie Project
NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine had announced in May 2020 that the space agency is going to collaborate with Tom Cruise for shooting a film at ISS. However, he did not mention a specific timeline for the same. This project is also going to be a “three-fold collaboration” with Elon Musk’s SpaceX, NASA as well as actor Tom Cruise as they come together for shooting what they expected to be the first narrative feature film outside Earth.
Bridenstine described the movie as a way to “inspire a new generation of engineers and scientists to make NASA’s ambitious plans a reality”.
In 2019, NASA had outlined plans for allowing “independent or private” astronauts to access the ISS’ facility after paying a fee. Private space missions are supposed to take place in low-orbit Earth or Earth-centered orbits which have an altitude of 2,000 km. This is where the ISS orbits currently. It is considered close enough to the Earth and is believed to be convenient for transportation as well as resupply.
NASA is excited to work with @TomCruise on a film aboard the @Space_Station! We need popular media to inspire a new generation of engineers and scientists to make @NASA’s ambitious plans a reality. pic.twitter.com/CaPwfXtfUv
— Jim Bridenstine (@JimBridenstine) May 5, 2020
Earlier this year, Russia had announced that it may withdraw from the ISS by 2025 and create its own space outpost. According to Roscosmos General Director Dmitry Rogozin, Russia could hand over responsibility for the Russian segment of the international space station to the US.
He later said, however, that Russia may revise its decision to withdraw from the ISS and build its own orbital station if Washington agrees to lift sanctions.