A Russian actor and a film director have returned to Earth after spending 12 days on the International Space Station filming scenes for the first movie in orbit.
Yulia Peresild and Klim Shipenko landed as scheduled on the Kazakh steppe early Sunday, according to images broadcast live by the Russian space agency.
They were transported back to the mainland by cosmonaut Oleg Novitsky, who had been on the space station for the past six months.
“The descent vehicle of the Soyuz MS-18 manned spacecraft is upright and safe. The crew feels good! “The Russian space agency Roscosmos tweeted.
The filmmakers had taken off from the Russian-leased Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan earlier this month, traveling to the ISS with veteran cosmonaut Anton Shkaplerov to film scenes for The Challenge.
If the project continues, the Russian team will top a Hollywood project announced last year by Mission Impossible star Tom Cruise, along with NASA and Elon Musk’s SpaceX.
The movie’s plot, which has mostly been kept under wraps along with its budget, centers on a surgeon who is sent to the ISS to save a cosmonaut.
Shkaplerov, 49, along with the two Russian cosmonauts who were already aboard the ISS, are said to have supporting roles in the film.
The mission was not without minor setbacks.
When the film crew docked at the ISS earlier this month, Shkaplerov had to switch to manual control.
And when Russian flight controllers conducted a test on the Soyuz MS-18 spacecraft on Friday, the spacecraft’s propellant unexpectedly fired and destabilized the ISS for 30 minutes, a NASA spokesperson told Russia’s TASS news agency. .
His landing, which was documented by a film crew, will also appear in the film, Konstantin Ernst, director of Channel One television, a friend of the Kremlin and co-producer of The Challenge, told AFP.
The mission will join a long list of firsts for the Russian space industry.
The Soviets launched the first Sputnik satellite and put the first animal, a dog named Laika, the first man, Yuri Gagarin, and the first woman, Valentina Tereshkova, into orbit.
But compared to the Soviet era, modern Russia has struggled to innovate and its space industry is struggling to secure state funding with the Kremlin prioritizing military spending.
His space agency still relies on Soviet-designed technology and has faced a number of setbacks, including corruption scandals and botched launches.
Russia is also falling behind in the global space race, facing stiff competition from the United States and China, with Beijing showing increasing ambitions in the industry.
Russia’s Roscosmos also took a hit after SpaceX last year successfully delivered astronauts to the ISS, ending Moscow’s monopoly for trips to the orbital station.
In an attempt to improve its image and diversify its income, Russia’s space program revealed earlier this year that it will reactivate its tourism plan to transport fare-paying adventurers to the ISS.
After a decade-long hiatus, Russia will send two Japanese tourists, including billionaire Yusaku Maezawa, to the ISS in December, crowning a milestone year for amateur space travel.
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism