Film crew plans 12-day stay to shoot medical drama about space doctor

A Russian actor and a film director rocketed to space Tuesday on a mission to make the world’s first movie in orbit, a project the Kremlin said will help burnish the nation’s space glory.

Actor Yulia Peresild and director Klim Shipenko blasted off for the International Space Station in a Russian Soyuz spacecraft together with cosmonaut Anton Shkaplerov, a veteran of three space missions. Their Soyuz MS-19 lifted off as scheduled at 1:55 p.m. (0855 GMT) from the Russian space launch facility in Baikonur, Kazakhstan and arrived at the station after about 3½ hours.

Shkaplerov took manual controls to smoothly dock the spacecraft at the space outpost after a glitch in an automatic docking system.

The trio reported they were feeling fine and spacecraft systems were functioning normally.

Peresild and Klimenko are to film segments of a new movie titled “Challenge,” in which a surgeon played by Peresild rushes to the space station to save a crew member who suffers a heart condition. After 12 days on the space outpost, they are set to return to Earth with another Russian cosmonaut.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said the mission will help showcase Russia’s space prowess.

“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.”

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