The Russian crew return to Earth after filming the first movie in space

A Russian actress and a film director returned to Earth Sunday after spending 12 days on the International Space Station (ISS) shooting scenes for the first movie in orbit. Yulia Peresild and Klim Shipenko landed as scheduled on Kazakhstan's steppe at 0436 GMT, according to footage broadcast live by the Russian space agency. They were ferried back to terra firma by cosmonaut Oleg Novitsky, who had been on the space station for the past six months.


Russian space agency Roscosmos tweeted, the descent vehicle of the crewed spacecraft Soyuz MS-18 is standing upright and is secure. The crew is feeling good!.


The filmmakers had blasted off from the Russia-leased Baikonur Cosmodrome in ex-Soviet Kazakhstan earlier this month, traveling to the ISS with veteran cosmonaut Anton Shkaplerov to film scenes for The Challenge. If the project stays on track, the Russian crew will beat a Hollywood project announced last year by Mission Impossible star Tom Cruise together with NASA and Elon Musk's SpaceX.


The movie's plot, which has been mostly kept under wraps along with its budget, centers around a surgeon who is dispatched to the ISS to save a cosmonaut. Shkaplerov, 49, along with the two Russian cosmonauts who were already aboard the ISS are said to have cameo roles in the film.


The mission was not without small hitches. As the film crew docked at the ISS earlier this month, Shkaplerov had to switch to manual control. And when Russian flight controllers on Friday conducted a test on the Soyuz MS-18 spacecraft the ship's thruster fired unexpectedly and destabilized the ISS for 30 minutes, a NASA spokesman told the Russian news agency TASS. But the spokesman confirmed their departure would go ahead as scheduled.


Their landing, which was documented by a film crew, will also feature in the movie, Konstantin Ernst, the head of the Kremlin-friendly Channel One TV network and a co-producer of The Challenge.


The mission will add to a long list of firsts for Russia's space industry.

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