The first-ever professional film crew to shoot footage for a film in space returned from their 12-day trip to the International Space Station (ISS) on Sunday, October 17. The Soyuz MS-18 craft, piloted by the Russian cosmonaut, Oleg Novitsky, and carrying actress, Yulia Peresild, and film director, Klim Shipenko, landed safely in Kazakhstan.
The aviation forces of the search and rescue group of the Central Military District of the Russian Federation flew to the estimated landing area of the descent vehicle of the Soyuz MS-18 manned spacecraft for immediate actions to evacuate the cosmonaut and film crew and transport the lander.
In total, 200 military personnel, 12 Mi-8MTV5-1 helicopters, 3 An-12 and An-26 aircraft, about 20 units of special equipment, including five Blue Bird amphibious search and evacuation vehicles, were involved in providing landing. Military rescuers prepared gifts for the crew (the most popular were apples).
Shipenko brought back 30 terabytes of footage and said the filming conditions provided on the ISS with actual zero gravity would have been absolutely impossible to recreate on a set either in Russia or Hollywood. He noted that the landing went smoothly and none of the crew had experienced any adverse effects.
“The flight [into space] was so exciting! Waiting for the flight – the ceremonies, the festivities, everyone seeing us off – those emotions are one thing. But when you return with a sense of accomplishment, and you enjoy all these g-forces, the plasma burning outside the window – it’s like a parting gift,” Shipenko said.
In turn, the actress stressed that it takes time to get used to Earth’s gravity.
“It’s as if the body doesn’t really understand how it happened. While you’re in low gravity, you feel like a feather, so everything’s very heavy now – my head’s very heavy, my arms, my legs… Everything’s a little dizzy,” she explained.
Peresild confessed that she was feeling “a bit sad” because “12 days initially seemed like a lot, but when it was all ending, I didn’t want to say goodbye.”
As reminded, the goal of the flight was to shoot scenes for ‘The Challenge’ film. While the plot is still mostly kept in secrecy, the key point is that it will show a medical doctor, portrayed by Peresild, who travels to space to perform life-saving surgery on an incapacitated cosmonaut.
It is specified that the film crew’s flight was facilitated as a collaboration between Russian TV Channel 1 and Roscosmos space agency, while RT has provided special coverage of the mission. The whole idea to produce a space movie in actual space will be beneficial for the space industry, according to the Russian cosmonaut Sergey Ryazansky.
“I believe every opportunity counts to explain why it’s [a spaceflight] important for the people, important for our country, important for humankind as a whole,” the cosmonaut said.
Ryazansky also told that the main difficulty with this flight is the lack of a human double. In a regular crew, an engineer has nearly the same qualifications as a commander. However, this time, they could rely only on the hardware in case something would have happened to the commander.
“The guys aren’t professionals, but they completed a very good training course. Without them, it would have been difficult to perform a full, regular descent at all. They participated in the flight, helped me in my work, and I’m very grateful to them,” the cosmonaut Novitsky told.
It is planned that all three members of the flight will undergo a medical check before going from Kazakhstan to the Moscow Region. A press conference with the Soyuz MS-19 crew is scheduled for Tuesday.
A full video about the historical event of the first film crew flight to space can be found on YouTube.