Russia Is Sending a Film Crew to Space. Here’s How to Watch.

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An actress and a director will travel to the International Space Station with the aim of shooting scenes for the first feature film to rely on scenes shot in orbit.

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First dog to go into space. First man and woman. Now Russia is about to achieve another spaceflight ahead of the United States: Beating Hollywood to Orbit.

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A Russian actress, a director and their professional Russian astronaut guide are set to launch on a Russian rocket to the International Space Station on Tuesday morning. Their mission is to shoot scenes from the first feature-length film in space. While cinematic scenes in space have long been portrayed on the big screen using sound stages and advanced computer graphics, never before had a full-length film been shot and directed in space.

The Soyuz rocket, the flagship of Russia’s space program, is scheduled for liftoff at 4:55 a.m. Eastern Time from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. The MS-19 spacecraft carrying the three-person crew is expected to dock with the space station at 8:12 a.m., about three hours later

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NASA, which manages the space station in partnership with Russia, Streaming of the launch will begin at 4:15 a.m. Eastern Time. Another livestream for the spacecraft’s docking will begin at 7:30 a.m.

Yulia Peresild, a Russian actress, and a director, Klim Shipenko, will be joined by Anton Shkaplerov, a veteran cosmonaut who has completed three treks to the space station since 2011. Ms Peresild has spent months training for the mission. She auditioned for the role in a competition with dozens of other actresses earlier this year. Alyona Mordovina, the contest runner-up, is Ms. Peresild’s backup, and will go into orbit if someone prevents the primary crew from going into space.

The film’s working title is “The Challenge” and is about a surgeon, played by Ms. Peresild, who sets out on an emergency mission to the space station to save the life of a sick astronaut. Few other details about the plot or filming at the station have been announced.

For “The Challenge”, the cinematic story may take a back seat to the symbolism of a film being shot in space. The production is a joint project involving Russia’s space agency Roscosmos; Channel One Russia, a state-supported TV channel; and Yellow, Black and White, a Russian film studio.

Like a lot of private missions in space these days, Channel One and Roscosmos hope the film can prove to the public that space isn’t just reserved for government astronauts. Channel One said on its website, one of the main objectives of the production is to show that “spaceflights are gradually becoming available not only to professionals, but also to a broader range of interested individuals.”

Funding for Russia’s space program is beginning to dwindle. Beginning in 2011, when the US spaceflight program ended, NASA could only send astronauts to the International Space Station for an expensive ride on one of Russia’s Soyuz rockets. But that ended in 2020 when SpaceX’s Crew Dragon proved itself capable of sending astronauts from American soil. and more recently, the United States finished purchase The launch into space of a Russian rocket engine long used for NASA and the Pentagon, generated billions in revenue for Moscow.

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