Russian film crew set to launch to International Space Station next week

Actor Yulia Peresild (left), cosmonaut Anton Shkaplerov (center) and director Klim Shipenko (right) are scheduled to launch toward the International Space Station on Oct. 5, 2021.
Actor Yulia Peresild (left), cosmonaut Anton Shkaplerov (center) and director Klim Shipenko (right) are scheduled to launch toward the International Space Station on Oct. 5, 2021. (Image credit: Roscosmos via Twitter)

We're just a week away from the launch of a Russian film crew to the International Space Station.

Director Klim Shipenko, actor Yulia Peresild and cosmonaut Anton Shkaplerov are scheduled to launch toward the orbiting lab aboard a Russian Soyuz spacecraft next Tuesday (Oct. 5). The trio will lift off from Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan just before 5 a.m. EDT (0900 GMT), if all goes according to plan.

Once they get to the station, Shipenko and Peresild will film part of a movie called "Challenge," which is a joint production of the Moscow-based film studio Yellow, Black and White, Russia's Channel One and Roscosmos, the nation's federal space agency.  

Soyuz spacecraft: Backbone of the Russian space program

Shipenko and Peresild will come back to Earth in a different Soyuz spacecraft on Oct. 17, along with cosmonaut Oleg Novitskiy, who's been living on the space station since April. Shkaplerov, however, will remain in orbit over the longer haul.

The coming mission is the first of several scheduled to send non-professional astronauts to the station over the next few months. In December, Japanese billionaire Yusaku Maezawa, video producer Yozo Hirano and cosmonaut Alexander Misurkin will launch on a Soyuz, on a trip booked via the Virginia company Space Adventures. Like Shipenko and Persild, Maezawa and Hirano will spend 12 days in orbit.

Then, in late February, Axiom Space's Ax-1 mission will send four people to the station on a SpaceX Crew Dragon capsule. Three of them are paying customers; the fourth is former NASA astronaut Michael López-Alegría, an Axiom employee who will command the mission. 

These upcoming flights are coming on the heels of the first-ever all-private crewed flight to Earth orbit — SpaceX's Inspiration4 mission, which sent Jared Isaacman, Hayley Arceneaux, Sian Proctor and Chris Sembroski aloft on a Crew Dragon.

Inspiration4 — which was booked and commanded by Isaacman, the billionaire founder and CEO of Shift4 Payments — did not meet up with the International Space Station, however. The Crew Dragon zoomed around Earth solo for three days, flying significantly higher than the orbiting lab, before splashing down off the Florida coast on Sept. 18.

Mike Wall is the author of "Out There" (Grand Central Publishing, 2018; illustrated by Karl Tate), a book about the search for alien life. Follow him on Twitter @michaeldwall. Follow us on Twitter @Spacedotcom or Facebook. 

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Mike Wall
Senior Space Writer

Michael Wall is a Senior Space Writer with and joined the team in 2010. He primarily covers exoplanets, spaceflight and military space, but has been known to dabble in the space art beat. His book about the search for alien life, "Out There," was published on Nov. 13, 2018. Before becoming a science writer, Michael worked as a herpetologist and wildlife biologist. He has a Ph.D. in evolutionary biology from the University of Sydney, Australia, a bachelor's degree from the University of Arizona, and a graduate certificate in science writing from the University of California, Santa Cruz. To find out what his latest project is, you can follow Michael on Twitter.