12 days ago, two Russian private citizens went to the ISS to shoot a movie scene – actress Yulia Peresild and director Klim Shipenko along with cosmonaut Anton Shkaplerov were onboard the Soyuz Ms-18 spacecraft.
The success of the mission has further added to the number of private individuals being sent to space this year alone.
Russia once more one-up the US in the space race as far as commercialization is concerned. Hollywood aims to also make a movie on the ISS featuring actor Tom Cruise.
After their 12 day-long filming on the ISS, the film crew is now back safely on Earth. The touchdown on Sunday.
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Cosmonaut Anton Shkaplerov remained at the space station while Cosmonaut Oleg Novitsky who has been on the ISS since April and also played part in the movie came back to Earth with no incidents after a successful landing in Kazakhstan desert at about 10:35 a.m. local time after their three-hour trip.
Peresild played the role of an operating surgeon who prepares for a flight to the ISS to save an ailing cosmonaut’s life. The role of the ailing cosmonaut is reportedly being played by Novitsky in the upcoming movie The Challenge.
“The descent vehicle of the crewed spacecraft Soyuz MS-18 is standing upright and is secure. The crew are feeling good!” the Russian space agency Roscosmos, which is part of the joint film project, said on Twitter, according to a translation by AFP.
Even though a trip from space back to earth isn’t as cool as it might sound, the filming crew had to commence their part when Peresild, Shipenko, and Vovistsky were helped out of the MS-18 capsule.
The New York Times reported that a producer could be seen shouting instructions on the livestream of the landing provided by Roscosmos and NASA.
“Guys, please, let us do some shooting,” the producer said. “Please, do not do any filming on your smartphones. Do not take any videos, because right now, this is actually the future end of the movie.”
That end apparently featured at least four takes of a scene in which an actor greets Novitsky and then proceeds to approach Peresild to kiss her hand. In one of these takes, Peresild looked over to Novitsky and winked with a smile, the Times stated. The crew will now take part in a 10-day rehabilitation program to help them recover from the effects of living in space.
Although The Challenge is a drama movie, it’s unlikely that the film crew expected to experience real drama while aboard the ISS. On Friday, the ISS was tilted out of its position during a test of the MS-18’s engines, which fired longer than expected. Thankfully, Russian and NASA officials managed to correct the ISS’s positioning in 30 minutes.
The success of the filming marks a new beginning for space commercialization. Although some Russian cosmonauts have criticized the move by saying the ISS was meant for scientific experiments and not a movie set. However, only time will tell. Who knows, SpaceX or Blue Origin might build a space hotel that people can go to catch a view of the Blue planet from above.