The folks who plan to film part of a Russian movie on the International Space Station next month have been deemed medically fit to fly.
Director Klim Shipenko and actor Yulia Peresild got the thumbs-up after a meeting of the Chief Medical Commission at the Yuri Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Center near Moscow, Russia's federal space agency Roscosmos announced last week (opens in new tab).
Cosmonaut Anton Shkaplerov, who is scheduled to launch toward the orbiting lab with Shipenko and Peresild aboard a Russian Soyuz spacecraft on Oct. 5, also got final medical clearance. So did the backups for the mission: cosmonaut Oleg Artemyev, director Alexey Dudin and actor Alena Mordovina.
Soyuz spacecraft: Backbone of the Russian space program
If all goes according to plan, Shipenko and Peresild will spend about a week and a half on the station. While there, they'll film portions of a movie called "Challenge," a joint production of Roscosmos, Russia's Channel One and the Moscow-based film studio Yellow, Black and White. (Shkaplerov will stay aloft longer, coming back down to Earth next spring.) On Sunday (Sept. 5), the first episode of a reality show about filming "Challenge" in space aired on Channel One. You can watch it here (opens in new tab) in Russian.
Shipenko and Peresild won't be the only amateur astronauts flying to the station on a Soyuz this year, if all goes according to plan. Japanese billionaire Yusaku Maezawa and video producer Yozo Hirano are scheduled to lift off this December, along with cosmonaut Alexander Misurkin, on a trip booked via the Virginia company Space Adventures. Maezawa and Hirano will spend 12 days off Earth, Roscosmos officials have said.
Maezawa has also booked another, more ambitious space mission — a flight around the moon aboard SpaceX's Starship spacecraft, with liftoff currently targeted for 2023.
Mike Wall is the author of "Out There (opens in new tab)" (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.