"It is easier to build a strong child than to repair a broken man." - Frederick Douglass

First Film in Space ‘The Challenge’ Begins Production

Courtesy of NASA Johnson (Flickr CC0)

The Russian crew lifted off earlier this week. They have successfully landed and will soon start shooting. Carrying a director and an actress, the trip seems to so far be on schedule.

The Soyuz 2.1a left Baikonur Cosmodrome, the Russian spaceport in Kazakhstan. They arrived at the International Space Station (ISS) around 4 hours after leaving on schedule at 1:55 pm last Tuesday. Alongside the film crew is professional cosmonaut Anton Shkaplerov commanding the capsule. Shkaplerov had to dock the ship manually after an issue with communications did not allow the Soyuz to dock itself autonomously as expected.

During the whole ordeal, Director Klim Shipenko kept filming. He jokingly remarked that the event was staged to build suspense and add drama to the film. Dmitry Rogozin, the director of Russia’s space agency, Roscosmos, also chimed in after the successful landing. He got on the radio to tell Shkaplerov that the move was done “in order for your movie to be more dramatic.”

Courtesy of Gage Skidmore (Flickr CC0)

The film is called “The Challenge” staring Russian actress Yulia Peresild and directed by Shipenko using recordings made aboard the ISS. The plot is about a doctor who flies to the space station to give life-saving care to a cosmonaut struck by a heart attack during a spacewalk.

Peresild will play the surgeon, while cosmonaut Oleg Novitsky will portray the sick space traveler. Shkaplerov and cosmonaut Pyotr Dubrov may also make cameo appearances. Russia hopes this mission will reinvigorate the country’s taste for space travel.

Hollywood Space Race

Before any news of Russia filming in space, SpaceX and NASA had reached out to Tom Cruise to plan their own film production in space. NASA first made the announcement last year, but the project is yet to be assigned a launch date. AP reported that Cruise was developing the project alongside director Doug Liman and Elon Musk. However, Russia shifted its flight schedule to get ahead of Hollywood, according to EarthSky.

Written by Chiagozie Onyewuchi
Edited by Cathy Milne-Ware


The Associated Press: Russian film crew in orbit to make first movie in space; by Vladimir Isachenkov
EarthSky: And … action! 1st movie in space underway with Russian crew; by Lia De La Cruz

Featured and Top Image Courtesy of NASA Johnson’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License
Inset Image Courtesy of Gage Skidmore’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License

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