A famous Russian actress and an award-winning director have arrived at the International Space Station (ISS) to shoot what is being described as the first fictional movie to be filmed in space.
Yulia Peresild and Klim Shipenko, along with veteran cosmonaut Anton Shkaplerov, rocketed to space onboard a Soyuz MS-19 craft from Kazakhstan’s Baikonur Cosmodrome earlier on October 5.
They docked at the ISS after Shkaplerov, the captain of their spacecraft, switched to manual control.
As the hatches opened, they were greeted by two Russian, one Frenchman, one Japanese, and three NASA astronauts who are aboard the ISS.
"Welcome to the International Space Station," Russian cosmonaut Oleg Novitsky tweeted from the ISS.
The crew plans to film segments of a drama titled Vyzov (Challenge) that will tell the story of a female surgeon's mission to perform an operation on a cosmonaut who suffers a heart condition.
Its co-producers include Roskosmos chief Dmitry Rogozin and Russian state-run Channel One television, which will make documentaries about the 12-day mission.
Peresild, 36, has starred in several big Russian dramas, such as The Edge and Battle For Sevastopol. She has been awarded the title Honored Artist of the Russian Federation.
The 37-year-old Shipenko directed a 2017 award-winning disaster movie set in space, Salyut 7. He is also an actor and playwright.
The mission was announced last year after NASA confirmed it was teaming up with actor Tom Cruise to make a movie on the ISS, which is orbiting Earth at an altitude of nearly 400 kilometers. It was not yet clear when that movie would be shot.
It comes as Russia's space industry, which is still reliant on Soviet-designed technology, has been facing a number of setbacks, including corruption scandals and botched launches.