Russian film crew arrives at space station | Goulburn Post

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A Russian actress and director have taken to space to make the world’s first film in orbit, a project the Kremlin says will help revive the country’s space image. Yulia Peresild and director Klim Shipenko took off for the International Space Station in a Russian Soyuz spacecraft with Cosmonaut Anton Shkaplerov, a veteran of three space missions. Their Soyuz MS-19 took off as scheduled at 1:55 p.m. local time from the Russian space launch center in Baikonur, Kazakhstan, and arrived at the station after about three hours. Shkaplerov took manual controls to gently dock the spacecraft to the space outpost after a problem with an automatic docking system. The trio said they were feeling good and the spaceship’s systems were functioning normally. Peresild and Klimenko will film segments of a new film called Challenge, in which a surgeon played by Peresild rushes to the space station to rescue a crew member in need of urgent operation in orbit. After 12 days on the space outpost, they are expected to return to earth with another Russian cosmonaut. Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said the mission would help showcase Russia’s space prowess. “We have been pioneers in space and have maintained a confident stance,” Peskov said. “Such missions which help to publicize our achievements and space exploration in general are excellent for the country.” Speaking at a press conference before the flight on Monday, Peresild, 37, admitted that it was difficult for him to adjust to the strict discipline and rigorous demands during training. “It was psychologically, physically and morally difficult,” she said. “But I think once we reach the goal, it won’t all seem so difficult and we will remember it with a smile.” Shipenko, 38, who has directed several commercially successful films, also described their accelerated four-month preparation for the flight as difficult. “Of course, we couldn’t do a lot on the first try, and sometimes even on a third try, but that’s to be expected,” he said. Shipenko, who will complete filming on Earth after filming the film’s space episodes, said Shkaplerov and two other Russian cosmonauts now aboard the station – Oleg Novitskiy and Piotr Dubrovnik – will all have roles in the new film. Russian state-controlled Channel One television, which is involved in the making of the film, provided extensive coverage of the crew training and the launch. “I’m in shock. I still can’t imagine my mom being over there,” Peresild’s daughter Anna said in televised remarks minutes after the launch as she looked with tears in her eyes. Dmitry Rogozin, head of Russian state space company Roscosmos, was a key force behind the project, describing it as a chance to restore Russia’s space glory and dismissing criticism from some local media. “I expect the project will help draw attention to our space program, to the cosmonaut profession,” Rogozin told reporters on Tuesday. “We need a better visualization of space research. Space deserves to be shown in a more professional and artistic way.” After congratulating the crew on a successful docking, Rogozin said he personally edited the script for the film to properly reflect the realities of spaceflight. “We are describing some real emergencies that can arise there,” he said. According to the script, the cosmonaut character in the film needs urgent surgery after being hit by space debris. Some commentators have argued, however, that the film project distracts the Russian crew and might be inconvenient to film on the Russian segment of the International Space Station, which is considerably less spacious than the US segment. A new Russian laboratory module, the Nauka, was added in July but it is not yet fully integrated into the station. On the space station, the three newcomers joined the station commander Thomas Pesquet of the European Space Agency; NASA astronauts Mark Vande Hei, Shane Kimbrough and Megan McArthur; the cosmonauts of Roscosmos Novitskiy and Dubrovnik; and Aki Hoshide of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency. After the hatches between the Soyuz and the station opened, the trio floated inside, smiling and exchanging hugs with the station’s crew. “I feel like I’m dreaming,” Peresild said during a brief televised meeting with Mission Control in Moscow. Shipenko echoed this sentiment: “We have been waiting for this for so long, and indeed now we feel like we are in a dream.” Novitskiy, who will play the ill cosmonaut in the film, will take the captain’s seat in a Soyuz capsule to bring the film crew back to earth on October 17. Australian Associated Press

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