A Russian actress and a film director rocketed to space on a mission to make the world’s first movie in orbit and outpace a Hollywood project led by Tom Cruise.

When it comes to the space race, Russia has a string of ‘firsts’ under its belt: the first dog, the first man, the first woman and the first satellite. 

Keeping that spirit alive, Russia once again beats the US in the space race with its plan to make the first movie in orbit.

Russian actor Yulia Peresild gestures in a bus as she departs for boarding the Soyuz MS-19 spacecraft for the launch at the Baikonur Cosmodrome, Kazakhstan October 5, 2021.
Russian actor Yulia Peresild gestures in a bus as she departs for boarding the Soyuz MS-19 spacecraft for the launch at the Baikonur Cosmodrome, Kazakhstan October 5, 2021. (Reuters)

The Russian space agency Roscosmos has launched a two-person film crew toward the International Space Station aboard a Soyuz rocket on Tuesday. 

Along with this movie, Russia seems likely to beat a Hollywood project announced last year by Tom Cruise and director Doug Liman. They were planning a movie to be filmed in space, with NASA's cooperation and Elon Musk's SpaceX.

Russian actor Yulia Peresild waves after donning space suit shortly before the launch at the Baikonur Cosmodrome, Kazakhstan October 5, 2021.
Russian actor Yulia Peresild waves after donning space suit shortly before the launch at the Baikonur Cosmodrome, Kazakhstan October 5, 2021. (Reuters)

37-year-old actress Yulia Peresild and 38-year-old director Klim Shipenko are accompanied by a veteran Russian astronaut Anton Shkaplerov on a mission to shoot scenes for the first feature-length film in space.

"Everything was new to us today. Every 30 seconds brought us something entirely new. And we've just met the rest of the crew, the cosmonauts and astronauts who had been living on board the station for some time now. But I'm still in a dream. I still feel that it's all just a dream and I'm asleep", Peresild said during a brief televised hookup with Mission Control in Moscow.

Russian cosmonaut Anton Shkaplerov, film director Klim Shipenko and actor Yulia Peresild pose after donning space suits shortly before the launch at the Baikonur Cosmodrome, Kazakhstan October 5, 2021.
Russian cosmonaut Anton Shkaplerov, film director Klim Shipenko and actor Yulia Peresild pose after donning space suits shortly before the launch at the Baikonur Cosmodrome, Kazakhstan October 5, 2021. (Reuters)

Director Klim Shipenko had a challenging flight in a small capsule due to his height of 1.9 metres. He said he is looking forward to a Mars-based sequel.

Russian film director Klim Shipenko waves farewell as he boards the spacecraft for the launch at the Baikonur Cosmodrome, Kazakhstan October 5, 2021.
Russian film director Klim Shipenko waves farewell as he boards the spacecraft for the launch at the Baikonur Cosmodrome, Kazakhstan October 5, 2021. (Reuters)

The crew will be filming segments for the movie "Challenge".

The movie will tell the story of a surgeon, played by Peresild, who has to rush to the space station to save a crew member who needs an urgent operation in orbit. 

Other cosmonauts will also assist and act as part of the film crew since their resources are more limited in the space station.

Russian cosmonaut Anton Shkaplerov, film director Klim Shipenko and actor Yulia Peresild report before boarding the Soyuz MS-19 spacecraft for the launch at the Baikonur Cosmodrome, Kazakhstan October 5, 2021.
Russian cosmonaut Anton Shkaplerov, film director Klim Shipenko and actor Yulia Peresild report before boarding the Soyuz MS-19 spacecraft for the launch at the Baikonur Cosmodrome, Kazakhstan October 5, 2021. (AFP)

After 12 days in space, they are set to return to Earth on October 16 with another Russian cosmonaut.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said the mission will contribute to showcasing Russia's achievements in space.

“We have been pioneers in space and maintained a confident position,” Peskov said. 

“Such missions that help advertise our achievements and space exploration, in general, are great for the country.”

The project will become a clear example of the fact that spaceflights are gradually becoming available not only for professionals but also for an increasingly wider range of those interested, according to Roscosmos. 

Source: TRTWorld and agencies