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Soyuz MS spacecraft with first-ever film crew put in space

The Soyuz-2.1a rocket blasted off from Baikonur at 11:55 Moscow time

BAIKONUR COSMODROME, October 5. /TASS/. The crewed spacecraft Soyuz MS-19 carrying cosmonaut Anton Shkaplerov, actress Yulia Peresild and film director Klim Shipenko has jettisoned the third stage of the Soyuz-2.1a space rocket and begun autonomous flight to the International Space Station, the announcer said at the Baikonur cosmodrome.

The Soyuz-2.1a rocket blasted off from Baikonur at 11:55 Moscow time. It will take two orbits around the Earth (approximately three hours and 17 minutes) to approach the ISS. The docking with the Rassvet module is due at 15:20 Moscow time.

Peresild and Shipenko have been training for the flight since May. They studied space hardware, improved their physical fitness and underwent psychological training. They are going to the ISS to shoot a space drama under the working title Challenge, telling the story of a female doctor who agrees to go into space to save a cosmonaut's life. Taking part in filming the feature film episodes will be Russian cosmonauts Anton Shkaplerov, Oleg Novitsky and Pyotr Dubrov.

Peresild and Shipenko will stay in orbit for 12 days to return to the Earth by the Soyuz MS-18 spacecraft together with cosmonaut Oleg Novitsky, who has been on the ISS since April. Novitsky will get back to the Earth on October 17, while Shkaplerov and Dubrov will spend another 174 days in space.

The Russian crewmembers are to welcome the arrival of crewed spacecraft Soyuz MS-20 with space tourists and Soyuz MS-21 with cosmonauts, cargo spacecraft Progress MS-18, and nodal module Prichal and make three spacewalks to integrate the multi-purpose research module Nauka with the ISS.

One of Shkaplerov's tasks is to test a new composite radiation protection material. As follows from information available on the website of the Russian space corporation Roscosmos, the Russian crew are to make at least 30 experiments in space biology, physiology, materials processing, remote sensing of the Earth and cosmic rays physics.