Russia will launch an actress to the International Space Station to shoot a space drama

ESA gives International Space Station toilet tour in 2015

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Russian actress Yulia Peresild, 36, will be joined on the mission by director Kim Shipenko, 37. The duo will blast off aboard a Soyuz MS-19 spacecraft from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in southern Kazakhstan on October 5 this year. Russia’s space agency Roscosmos announced on Thursday filming for the “motion picture tentatively called Challenge” will take place aboard the ISS – 250 miles above the planet’s surface.

However, the actor-director duo will be first put through the wringer with a number of challenging pre-flight tests.

These will include spins inside of a centrifuge and flights aboard a zero-g plane.

Roscosmos said: “All selected candidates will begin special training for space flight participants no later than June 1.

“Among other things, they will have to take centrifuge tests, vibration and stand tests, perform introductory and training flights on a zero-gravity plane, undergo parachute training.”

The backup crew for the mission include 33-year-old actress Alena Mordovina, and director Alexey Dudin, 40.

Although Roscosmos has shed little light on the “space drama’s” plot, it is being co-produced by the agency’s director-general, Dmitry Rogozin.

The project will also involve shooting “a series of documentaries” about the rocket and space industries.

Roscosmos said: “The project will become a clear example of the fact that spaceflights are gradually becoming available not only for professionals, but also for an increasingly wider range of those interested.

“In addition to educational tasks, a number of new technical and technological problems will be solved.”

The ISS is an international collaboration built by 15 countries, including members of the European Space Agency (ESA).

Five of the space station’s modules were provided by Russia and form the ISS’s Russian segment where cosmonauts work and live.

Roscosmos’s announcement coincided with news Japanese billionaire Yusaku Maezawa is also being prepped to visit the ISS.

Mr Maezawa was selected in 2018 as the first commercial passenger to fly around the Moon onboard a SpaceX Starship spacecraft.

The entrepreneur will first fly to the ISS with his production assistant, Yozo Hirano, aboard the Russian Soyuz MS-20.

The launch is presently pencilled in for December 8 from Baikonur.

Mr Maezawa will document the extraordinary adventure for his YouTube channel.

He said: “I’m so curious ‘what’s life like in space’? So, I am planning to find out on my own and share with the world on my YouTube channel.”

As of November 17, 2020, a total of 241 people have visited the ISS, which has been home to astronauts for 20 years now.

All private launches to the ISS take place aboard the Russian Soyuz spacecraft as NASA has maintained a policy of not entertaining private spaceflight.

However, the US space agency has changed its position and Hollywood powerhouse Tom Cruise will fly to the space station this autumn to shoot a film.

NASA’s former administrator, Jim Bridenstine, announced on Twitter in May last year: “NASA is excited to work with @TomCruise on a film aboard the @Space_Station!

“We need popular media to inspire a new generation of engineers and scientists to make @NASA’s ambitious plans a reality.”

The actor is expected to launch in October this year as well.

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