A Russian actress and a film director rocketed to space Tuesday on a mission to make the world’s first movie in orbit, a project the Kremlin said will help burnish the nation’s space glory. Film star Yulia Peresild and director Klim Shipenko blasted off for the International Space Station in a Russian Soyuz spacecraft together with cosmonaut Anton Shkaplerov, a veteran of three space missions. Their Soyuz MS-19 lifted off as scheduled from the Russian space launch facility in Baikonur, Kazakhstan and arrived at the station after about 3.5 hours, the AP reports.
Shkaplerov took manual controls to smoothly dock the spacecraft at the space outpost after a glitch in an automatic docking system. Peresild and Klimenko are to film segments of a new movie titled Challenge, in which a surgeon played by Peresild rushes to the space station to save a crew member who needs an urgent operation in orbit. After 12 days on the space outpost, they are set to return to Earth with another Russian cosmonaut. Speaking at a pre-flight news conference Monday, 37-year-old Peresild acknowledged that it was challenging for her to adapt to the strict discipline and rigorous demands during the fast-track, four-month training.
"It was psychologically, physically, and morally hard," she said. "But I think that once we achieve the goal, all that will seem not so difficult and we will remember it with a smile." Shipenko, who will complete the shooting on Earth after filming the movie's space episodes, said Shkaplerov and two other Russian cosmonauts now on board the station—Oleg Novitskiy and Pyotr Dubrov—will all play parts in the new movie. Novitskiy, who will star as the ailing cosmonaut in the movie, will take the captain’s seat in a Soyuz capsule to take the film crew back to Earth on Oct. 17.
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