Russia to send camera crew to space: details on time and live broadcast


The first dog in space. The first man and the first woman. Now Russia is on the cusp of winning another spaceflight before the United States: beating Hollywood in orbit.

A Russian actress, a director and their professional Russian astronaut guide are scheduled to take off on Tuesday morning aboard a Russian rocket to the International Space Station. Their mission is to shoot scenes for the first feature film in space. While cinematic footage in space has long been portrayed on large screens using sound stages and advanced computer graphics, never before has a feature film been shot and directed in space.

A Soyuz rocket, the workhorse of the Russian space program, is scheduled to take off at 4:55 a.m. Eastern Time from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. The MS-19 spacecraft carrying the three-person crew is expected to dock with the space station about three hours later at 8:12 a.m.

NASA, which operates the space station in partnership with Russia, will begin broadcasting the launch at 4:15 a.m. EST. Another livestream for docking the spaceship will start at 7:30 a.m.

Yulia Peresild, a Russian actress, and Klim Shipenko, a director, will join Anton Shkaplerov, a veteran astronaut who has made three trips to and from the space station since 2011. Ms Peresild has spent months training for the mission. She auditioned for the role earlier this year in a competition with dozens of other actresses. Competition finalist Alyona Mordovina is Ms Peresild’s replacement and would go into orbit if something prevented the main crew from launching into space.

The film’s working title is “The Challenge,” and it’s about a surgeon, played by Mrs. Peresild, who embarks on an emergency mission to the space station to save the life of a sick cosmonaut. Few other details about the plot or the filming on board the station have been announced.

For “The Challenge”, cinematic storytelling can take a back seat to the symbolism of filming a movie in space. The production is a joint project involving the Russian space agency Roscosmos; Channel One Russia, a state-supported television channel; and Yellow, Black and White, a Russian film studio.

Like many private space missions these days, Channel One and Roscosmos are hoping the film can prove to audiences that space isn’t just for government astronauts. One of the main goals of the production is to show that “spaceflight is gradually becoming available not only to professionals, but also to an ever wider range of interested people,” Channel One said on its website.

Funding for the Russian space program is starting to decline. As of 2011, when the US space shuttle program ended, NASA could only send astronauts to the International Space Station by paying for expensive rides on one of Russia’s Soyuz rockets. But it ended in 2020 when SpaceX’s Crew Dragon was found to be able to send astronauts from American soil. And recently, the United States halted the purchase of a Russian rocket engine long used for NASA and Pentagon space launches, which generated billions in revenue for Moscow.

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