Russian Cosmonaut, Actress & Director Arrive at ISS to Shoot a Movie

The three new residents aboard the station (front row, from left) are Russian actress Yulia Peresild, Roscosmos cosmonaut Anton Shkaplerov, and Russian Producer Klim Shipenko. In the back, are Expedition 65 crew members Shane Kimbrough, Oleg Novitskiy, Thomas Pesquet, Megan McArthur, Pyotr Dubrov, Mark Vande Hei, and Akihiko Hoshide. (Credit: NASA TV)

MOSCOW (Roscosmos PR) — The crew members of the Soyuz MS-19 manned transport spacecraft docked on October 5, 2021 to the Rassvet Small Research Module of the Russian Segment of the International Space Station, opened the passageways and boarded the ISS. Then the first communication session of the crew of the 65th long-term expedition with the Baikonur cosmodrome and the TsNIIMash Mission Control Center (part of the Roscosmos State Corporation) took place.

After opening the hatches between the manned spacecraft Soyuz MS-19 and the station, a crew of 10 people began to work, consisting of Roscosmos cosmonauts Oleg Novitsky, Peter Dubrov, Anton Shkaplerov, space flight participants within the framework of the scientific and educational project “Challenge” – film director Klim Shipenko and actress Julia Peresild, NASA astronaut Mark Vande Hai, Shane Kimbrow and Megan MacArthur, ESA astronaut Tom Peske, and Japan Aerospace Research Agency astronaut Akihiko Hoshide.

For the Hero of Russia, Roskosmos cosmonaut Anton Shkaplerov, this is already the fourth space “mission” to near-earth orbit. He first went into space in November 2011. This is a debut for space flight participants.

The planned duration of the crew of the 66th long-term expedition is 174 days. The approximate duration of the work of space flight participants on the ISS is at least 12 days. It is planned that the crew of the manned spacecraft Yu.A. Gagarin “(Soyuz MS-18) as part of Roscosmos cosmonaut Oleg Novitsky, space flight participants Klim Shipenko and Yulia Peresild. Anton Shkaplerov will return home together with Roscosmos cosmonaut Pyotr Dubrov and NASA astronaut Mark Vande Hai tentatively in March 2022.

The program of the new long-term expedition includes about fifty scientific and applied research and experiments, carrying out routine maintenance related to maintaining the station’s operability, and equipping it with equipment delivered by cargo ships. The execution of four experiments is planned in automatic mode. In particular, 21 studies are expected to be carried out in space biology and physiology, 15 in the development of promising space technologies, 6 in space materials science, 2 in the physics of cosmic rays, one in the study of the Earth from space (the Terminator experiment) and the remaining five – practical tasks and educational activities.

During the 66th expedition to the ISS, the scientific and educational project “Challenge” will be implemented, within the framework of which the Russians will be the first in the world to shoot feature films in outer space. The film, tentatively titled “The Challenge,” is about a girl doctor who, due to dramatic circumstances, will have to prepare for a flight in a month and go to the ISS to solve an important task. This is not just the first movie in orbit, but a part of a joint scientific and educational project of the State Corporation Roscosmos, Channel One and the Yellow, Black, White studio. The project will become a clear evidence that space flights are gradually becoming available not only for professionals, but also for an ever wider range of interested persons. For example, such an accelerated training of film participants in the future will be needed to send other specialists into orbit: doctors, scientists.

Recall that the State Corporation Roscosmos and Channel One in 2020 launched an open competition among girls. At the end of the first stage, 20 finalists were selected. Then the medical expert commission carried out a comprehensive check of the participants for compliance with medical and psychological requirements, as well as the requirements for physical fitness, education and professional fitness necessary for participation in space flight and work in space. Actress Julia Peresild and her understudy Alena Mordovina, who successfully passed the flight commission, were enrolled in the Yu.A. Gagarin, where they, together with the director of “Challenge” Klim Shipenko and cameraman Alexei Dudin, underwent an accelerated training course.

On Tuesday, October 5, 2021, at 08:55:02 UTC, the Soyuz-2.1a carrier rocket launched successfully with the Soyuz MS-19 crewed spacecraft from Site 31 (‘Vostok’) launchpad No. 6 of the Baikonur Cosmodrome as part of the scientific and educational project ‘Challenge’. In accordance with the flight sequence 529.3 seconds into the flight, the spacecraft separated nominally from the third stage of the carrier in the target orbit.

According to the telemetry data received at Roscosmos Central Information Post, the launch, separation of the stages and the spacecraft went normally. Currently, the Soyuz MS-19 spacecraft continues its flight to the International Space Station in automatic mode, under the control of the specialists from the Chief Operating Control Group for the ISS Russian Segment (Rocket and Space Corporation Energia, part of Roscosmos).

The craft crew is all-Russian crew, including Roscosmos cosmonaut Anton Shkaplerov, filmmaker Klim Shipenko and actress Yulia Peresild.

According to preliminary information, the launch vehicle put the spacecraft into orbit with the following parameters:

  • Minimum altitude over the Earth’s surface: 199.84 km;
  • Maximum altitude over the Earth’s surface: 242.69 km.
  • Orbital period: 88.64 min;
  • Orbit inclination: 51.67 deg;

The flight of the crew (callsign ‘Astrey’) is performed according to the so-called superfast rendezvous scheme, reaching the ISS in about 3 hours and 17 minutes after liftoff. Its docking to the Rassvet module of the station’s Russian segment is scheduled for 12:12 UTC (±3 minutes). The second live broadcast is to begin at 11:30 Moscow time in the ‘Online broadcasts’ section of Roscosmos website.

After arriving at the International Space Station, Anton Shkaplerov, Klim Shipenko and Yulia Peresild will meet Oleg Novitskiy, Pyotr Dubrov, Mark Vande Hei, Shane Kimbrough, Megan MacArthur, Tomas Pesquet and Akihiko Hoshide.

Today’s launch was the fourth for the Soyuz-2.1a rocket with a Soyuz MS family crewed spacecraft and crew onboard. The Soyuz-2.1a rocket replaced the Soyuz-FG in missions to deliver cosmonauts and astronauts to the International Space Station.

Soyuz-2.1a is a Russian launch vehicle developed at the Progress Rocket and Space Center (Samara, part of Roscosmos), designed to launch various spacecraft, including transport vehicles and uncrewed spacecraft, into Earth orbit. The rocket’s digital control system was developed by specialists at NPO Avtomatiki (Ekaterinburg, part of Roscosmos): it is equipped with a set of Malakhit base units.

The main advantage of the Soyuz-2.1a rocket over the Soyuz-FG is the digital control system, compared to analog one. In addition, the rocket is characterized by improved launch accuracy and increased payload mass in low orbits due to improvements in the control system and propulsion systems of the first and second stages.

The rocket bears a number of logos, including those of the ‘Challenge’ scientific and educational project and participating organizations. The hull also carries signs commemorating important dates of this year: the 60th anniversary of Yuri Gagarin’s flight, which opened the way to space, and the 60th anniversary of the world’s first 24-hour flight performed by German Titov.