This video grab released on Tuesday by the Russian Space Agency shows actress Yulia Peresild entering the International Space Station. AFP
Gulf Today Report
A Russian actress and director on Tuesday arrived at the International space Station (ISS) in a bid to best the United States and film the first movie in orbit.
The Russian crew is set to beat a Hollywood project that was announced last year by "Mission Impossible" star Tom Cruise together with NASA and Elon Musk's spaceX.
Actress Yulia Peresild, 37, and film director Klim Shipenko, 38, took off from the Russia-leased Baikonur Cosmodrome in ex-Soviet Kazakhstan as scheduled. But they belatedly docked at the ISS at 1222 GMT after veteran cosmonaut Anton Shkaplerov switched to manual control.
"Welcome to the ISS!" Russia's space agency Roscosmos said on Twitter.
The crew travelled in a Soyuz MS-19 spaceship for a 12-day mission at the ISS to film scenes for "The Challenge." The movie's plot, which has been mostly kept under wraps along with its budget, was revealed by Roscosmos to centre around a female surgeon who is dispatched to the ISS to save a cosmonaut. Shkaplerov and two other Russian cosmonauts aboard the ISS are said to have cameo roles in the film.
This video grab released by Nada shows crew members entering the ISS. AFP
The ISS crew, which also includes a French, a Japanese and three NASA astronauts, will welcome the newcomers when the hatch opens at around 1410 GMT.
Space officials reported that the crew was feeling fine and all spacecraft systems were functioning normally.
"Launch as planned," the head of the Roscosmos space agency, Dmitry Rogozin, said on Twitter. Led by veteran cosmonaut Anton Shkaplerov, the film crew will travel in a Soyuz MS-19 spaceship for a 12-day mission at the ISS to film scenes for "The Challenge."
A live broadcast on Russian TV showed the Soyuz spacecraft ascending into a cloudless sky. "The crew is feeling well," Shkaplerov was heard saying in the broadcast several minutes after takeoff.The movie's plot, which has been mostly kept under wraps along with its budget, was revealed by Roscosmos to centre around a female surgeon who is dispatched to the ISS to save a cosmonaut.
Shkaplerov and two other Russian cosmonauts aboard the ISS are said to have cameo roles in the film.
The launch to film the movie "The challenge" puts Russia on course to beat the United States in the latest chapter of the space race. Actress Yulia Peresild and director Klim Shipenko will reach the cosmos ahead of Cruise, whose plans to blast off on a SpaceX rocket for an as-yet-untitled Hollywood film were announced by Nasa last year.
Russia's own space industry has in recent years been dogged by delays, accidents and corruption scandals, while US-based private firms backed by rich businessmen such as Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos have developed new spaceships.
Peresild and Shipenko were accompanied at the launch of their 12-day mission by two Russian cosmonauts.
'It was difficult'
"It was difficult psychologically, physically and emotionally... but I think when we reach our goal all the challenges won't seem so bad," Peresild — who was selected out of 3,000 applicants for the role — said at a pre-flight press conference on Monday.
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."
"We welcome you back to planet Earth and thanks for flying SpaceX,” SpaceX's Mission Control radioed moments after splashdown. "For those of you enrolled in our frequent flyer programme, you've earned 68 million miles on this voyage.”
"We'll take those miles,” said spacecraft commander Mike Hopkins. "Are they transferrable?” SpaceX replied that the astronauts would have to check with the company's
First Emirati astronaut Hazzaa Al Mansoori tweeted: "Today is a special day as it marks the first ever all-female spacewalk. Congratulations to the crew back at the International Space Station, Astronauts @Astro_Jessica and @Astro_Christina on this historic achievement!"
The Progress capsule was launched atop a giant Soyuz rocket from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan, reaching the space station in just three hours and 20 minutes, making it "the fastest spacecraft in the history of flights to the ISS," Roscosmos said.
According to a section of the media, Cruise and Musk's aviation company, Space X, is working on a project with NASA that would be the "first narrative feature film" to be shot in outer space.
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