Russian Film Crew Set to Make First Ever Movie in Space Onboard ISS

A film crew has been given the green light to head to the International Space Station (ISS) to make a movie after a medical commission concluded they were fit for flight.

Russian actress Yulia Peresild and film director and producer Klim Shipenko will head to the ISS later in 2021 as the crew of the ISS-66 mission.

They will be joined by Russian cosmonaut Oleg Artemyev, as well as a two-person backup crew. The mission is scheduled for launch on October 5 this year.

The movie, titled Challenge, has been dubbed a "space drama" and has been described as the first feature film to be filmed in space, according to Russian space agency Roscosmos.

When the actress and director were picked earlier this year, Russia's RIA news agency reported that the film would be about a female surgeon tasked with operating on a cosmonaut who is too sick to return to Earth.

Peresild was chosen for the role after she and 19 other finalists were selected.

In May, Roscosmos detailed the gruelling training regime the candidates would have to go through in order to be approved for travel to the space station.

They would be subjected to, among other things, tests on a centrifuge—a giant machine used to subject people to g-forces—zero-gravity training on an airplane, and parachute training.

On August 31 the agency confirmed that Peresild and Shipenko, as well as the backup crew, had been "recognized as fit for space flight for health."

Challenge is part of a larger scientific and educational project, in which a series of documentaries about rocks and the spaceflight industry are also planned.

The project is intended to demonstrate that space is becoming available "not only for professionals, but also for an ever wider range of interested persons," Roscosmos added.

Peresild has appeared in more than 30 films since 2007, including lead roles in the drama film Nevesta, comedy Santa Lyuchiya, and war film Battle for Sevastopol, according to IMDb.

Shipenko is also credited with several films, including directing the space action film Salyut-7 which retells the story of how Russian cosmonauts traveled to the nearly doomed Salyut-7 space station which had gone radio silent back in the 1980s.

By executing a risky manual docking maneuver, the cosmonauts managed to get the space station back online and even lived in it afterwards for well over 100 days before returning back to Earth.

Shipenko and Peresild are not the only civilians due to travel into space this year. SpaceX's Inspiration 4 mission will see four non-professional astronauts travel to Earth orbit for a few days as soon as this month. The mission is due to launch no earlier than September 15.

Yulia Peresild
Russian actress Yulia Peresild, seen here in an interview with AFP in Moscow on June 4, 2021. The actress is part of a crew flying to the ISS later this year to make a film. Dimitar Dilkoff/AFP / Getty