Russian film crew touches down after shooting first feature film in space

A Russian film crew has successfully returned to Earth after filming The Challenge – the first feature film in space.

Looks like humanity is one step closer to reaching infinity and beyond.

Actress Yulia Peresild, film director Klim Shipenko and their guide, cosmonaut Oleg Novitskiy, touched down on the steppe of Kazakhstan on Sunday, 10:35am Kazakhstan time.

Suyoz MS-18

Both Peresild and Shipenko underwent intensive training to prepare themselves for living on the International Space Station.

“We underwent an accelerated course of many important elements that the cosmonauts study over many years,” Shipenko said in a press conference as quoted by Deadline.

“We tried to master them in four months. Of course, this is very fast. We had a lot of theory, practice, endurance, sports – everything imaginable. It seems to me, this is a rather feasible task – naturally not to become a cosmonaut … but to prepare as a participant of a space flight.”

It was a drama-free landing, with the spacecraft Soyuz MS-18 deploying parachutes to steady their touchdown. The landing will be included in The Challenge – the film the crew was working on.

While the film’s exact plot and budget have been kept a secret, it is believed that it will follow “a surgeon who is dispatched to the ISS to save a cosmonaut”. Occupants of the space station are also expected to have cameos in the movie.

After landing, the spacecraft’s passengers were evaluated by medical professionals before being airlifted to the city of Karaganda to begin their journey home to Russia.

Peresild and Shipenko have been required to “undergo a 10-day rehab program to help them readjust to their return to Earth after spending 12 days in space”.

The safe landing comes after a few incidents occurred on the space station. Anton Shkalerov, a veteran cosmonaut, was required to manually dock the Soyuz MS-18 after communication errors almost stopped it from connecting with the station upon arrival.

Additionally, testing on the docked spacecraft caused its thrusters to fire, pushing the ISS out of its optimal position for half an hour.

“The thruster firing unexpectedly continued after the end of the test window, resulting in a loss of attitude control for the International Space Station at 5:13 a.m. Within 30 minutes, flight controllers regained attitude control of the space station, which is now in a stable configuration. The crew was awake at the time of the event and was not in any danger,” NASA wrote on their blog.

International Space Station
Image: NASA

The Challenge makes Russia the first country to ever shoot a feature film in orbit.

Previously, it was expected that an upcoming collaboration between actor Tom Cruise, NASA and Elon Musk’s SpaceX would win the aforementioned title.

The Challenge is being made by independent film studio Yellow, Black and White, Russian space agency Roscosmos and broadcaster Channel One.

A release date is yet to be announced.