Russians beat Tom Cruise as first to shoot a movie in space, despite docking drama

Veteran Russian cosmonaut Anton Shkaplerov, actor Yulia Peresild and film producer Klim Shipenko visited the International Space Station on Tuesday. Peresild and Shipenko will shoot segments for the film “Challenge”, the first feature film shot in space.

The three space travelers took off aboard a Soyuz MS-19 spacecraft from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan at 4:55 a.m. ET on Tuesday.

The Rapid Soyuz delivered them to the space station around 8:22 a.m. ET, despite unexpected communication issues that led Shkaplerov to take manual control of the spacecraft to complete docking to the space station. This added about 10 minutes to the expected docking time.

The “Ratty data” from the Kurs automated rendezvous system occurred when the Soyuz was about 75 meters from the space station, according to the NASA live broadcast. Russian mission control ordered Shkaplerov to take manual control of the Soyuz flight for the final approach to docking.

Russian mission control was concerned about the time they had left to communicate with the crew of the Soyuz spacecraft before docking, as it would be briefly out of range of ground control stations.

“Anton, we have very little time left,” Russian Mission Control said. “After that, like you trained. Everything will be fine.”

“I can see everything very well,” Shkaplerov assured them shortly before docking safely.

The spacecraft is generally able to dock itself, and manual docking is rare. There was also an issue with Kurs, the docking navigation system, in July when the newly docked Russian module Nauka accidentally triggered its thrusters, causing the space station to lose control.

Peresild and Shipenko used their cameras to film their Soyuz approaching the space station.

“It was a bit dramatic at the end, to make your movie more dramatic,” said Roscosmos chief Dmitry Rogozin, as Russian Mission Control joked with the crew after docking.

The current space station crew, including European Space Agency astronaut Thomas Pesquet; NASA astronauts Mark Vande Hei, Shane Kimbrough and Megan McArthur; Japanese Aerospace Exploration Agency astronaut Aki Hoshide; and the Roscosmos cosmonauts Oleg Novitskiy and Piotr Dubrovnik; welcomed the trio on board when the hatch opened at 11:01 a.m. This brings the current number of crews on the station to 10.

“Everything was new for us today, every 30 seconds brought in something entirely new,” Peresild said after arriving at the station. “It’s almost impossible to think that all of this has come true. I also feel like I’m still dreaming.”

Shkaplerov addressed manual docking to the station after his arrival.

“We had a little delay,” he told Russian mission control. “Thanks to you who taught us how to make decisions. Everything went very well, and now we look forward to our work in orbit. (Peresild and Shipenko) helped. They knew what to do, they were aware of the situation. Everything was done exactly as required by their training. “

“The launch will mark the expansion of commercial space opportunities to include the making of feature films,” according to a NASA statement. The film is being made under a commercial agreement between Roscosmos and Moscow media entities Channel One and studio Yellow, Black and White, the agency said.

This is a short break for new space station visitors Peresild and Shipenko, who will spend 12 days on the space station filming before returning to Earth on October 16. They will be joined on their return trip by Novitskiy.

“There is enough room in space for everything,” Russian President Dmitry Peskov said. “It is important to observe the proportions. We follow such flights with all Russians, we are also worried about the astronauts and wish them a good continuation of the flight. After all, space is where we have become. pioneers, where we, despite everything, maintain a confident position. “

Shkaplerov will remain on the space station and return to Earth in March with Vande Hei and Dubrovnik on the Soyuz MS-19 spacecraft. When Vande Hei lands after his 355 consecutive days on the space station, he will have completed the longest single-astronaut space flight in U.S. history, according to NASA.

A few movies have been shot aboard the space station, including a 2002 IMAX documentary that Tom Cruise narrated. “Apogee of Fear,” a 2012 sci-fi film of about eight minutes, was also shot in space by entrepreneur and space tourist Richard Garriott, the son of an astronaut.

Tom Cruise and director Doug Liman revealed in 2020 that they are working together on a film to shoot in space, with the cooperation of NASA. The project is developed in collaboration with SpaceX by Elon Musk. Reports have suggested that Cruise’s stay on the space station could also take place in October, but no definitive date for its launch has been shared – although he spoke with the all-civilian crew of SpaceX Inspiration 4 during of their recent trip to space.

But Russia is set to become the first nation to shoot a feature film in space.

Peresild and Shipenko, well-known in Russia, were selected after the country’s space agency Roscosmos opened a competition for applications in November. Peresild has appeared in a number of Russian films and TV series, while Shipenko’s 2020 film “Serf” was one of the highest grossing films in Russia.

The two civilians underwent rigorous training before their space trip. With liners, the actor and director prepared by performing centrifuge and vibration support tests, weightless training flights, and parachute training, all covered by Channel One.

NASA is working with Tom Cruise to shoot a movie in space.  Yes really

The crew trained to photograph and film and use equipment they will interact with on the space station.

Other cosmonauts on board, including Novitskiy, will assist and be part of the film crew as their resources are more limited in the space environment. The schedules of the astronauts on the space station are already well choreographed so that they can work on experiments and see to necessary maintenance tasks and other priorities.

The film “is part of a large-scale scientific and educational project, which also includes a series of documentaries to shoot about the companies and specialists in the rocket and space industry involved in the manufacture of launchers, d “spacecraft and ground-based space infrastructure. The project will become a clear example of how spaceflight is gradually becoming available not only to professionals, but also to an increasingly wide range of interested people,” according to Roscosmos.

Jackie Wattles, Katharina Krebs, Olga Pavlova and Sara Spary contributed to this report.

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