On October 5, 2021, Russia sent an actress and a director to International Space Station in order to shoot the world’s first feature film in orbit.

The Soyuz spacecraft took off from the Baikonur Cosmodrome, carrying the actress Yulia Peresild and director Klim Shipenko, accompanied by the cosmonaut Anton Shkaplerov. The cockpit had to be specially remodeled for the latter to operate the vehicle on his own.

The unusual passengers will have 12 days to shoot the scenes of a film currently known as “The Challenge.” The plot will see a doctor being sent to space to treat a cosmonaut too sick to return to space.

The project was heavily mediatized on the first public television channel Pervyi Kanal, which partnered with the Russian space agency Roscosmos and the studio Yellow, Black and White for the production of this movie. 

For weeks, viewers were able to follow the preparation of the two celebrities. The pair received an expedited training of 4 months to get acclimated to weightlessness and learn basic safety procedures. 

Russia beats the United States to the punch. In May 2021, NASA and SpaceX announced that the superstar Tom Cruise would be sent to the ISS along with the director Doug Liman sometime in October 2021.