Is There a Space Movie? The Russian crew is getting ready to give it a shot.
A Russian film crew will launch tomorrow with the objective of being the first crew to make a major film in space. If successful, it will provide a much-needed boost to Russia’s space program at a time when its leader believes it is being dismissed and ignored.
Yulia Peresild and director Klim Shipenko will go on a 12-day mission to the International Space Station with cosmonaut Anton Shkaplerov (ISS). Their film, dubbed “Challenge,” would revolve around a medical emergency in space that necessitates the deployment of a physician into orbit to treat a crew member suffering from a heart ailment.
Peresild and Shipenko have been exercising since June 1 in what the famed Russian actress characterized as “grueling” conditions, according to the BBC. Flights in a zero gravity plane, parachute training, and a variety of other tests were part of her and Shipenko’s training program to prepare them for space travel.
Roscosmos, Russia’s official space agency, is directly supporting the film, with agency head Dmitriy Rogozin identified as one of the film’s co-producers. Roscosmos describes the effort as a “joint scientific and educational project” on its website, and claims that the expedited training provided to Pereselid and Shipenko will be applied to future selection of non-astronaut candidates for space travel.
In a reflection of the film’s potential usefulness to the Russian government, viewers in Russia will be able to see coverage of the project on Russian official television Channel One. Roscosmos even has a countdown meter on its website to track when the crew will enter orbit, as an indication of the excitement.
According to the station’s Twitter feed, NASA will also be broadcasting the film crew’s journey to the ISS.
On Tuesday at 4:55 a.m. ET, @NASA TV will webcast the launch of a @Roscosmos cosmonaut and two Russian mission participants to the station. More… https://t.co/vLRf5W3Xiu pic.twitter.com/ZWecOENUkH
Russia has been a pioneer in space exploration since the days of the Soviet Union. It was responsible for putting the first satellite into orbit, Sputnik 1, in 1958. It was followed three years later, in 1961, by Yuri Gagarin, the first man to journey into space. While the space program was dismantled with the collapse of the Soviet Union, the Soviet Union’s primacy in space remains a source of pride for Russia today.
Rogozin, who is under investigation. Brief News from Washington Newsday.