Russian film crew deemed medically fit for Oct. 5 launch to space station

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)

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.

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

Director Alexey Dudin (left), cosmonaut Oleg Artemyev (center) and actor Alena Mordovina (right) are the backup crew for a scheduled Oct. 5, 2021, launch toward the International Space Station. (Image credit: Roscosmos via Twitter)

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 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" (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.