The crewed spacecraft Soyuz MS-19, carrying cosmonaut Anton Shkaplerov, actress Yulia Peresild, and film director Klim Shipenko, has dismissed the third stage of the Soyuz-2.1a spacecraft and begun automated flight to the International Space Station, according to an announcer at Baikonur cosmodrome, TASS reports.
At 11:55 a.m. Moscow time, the Soyuz-2.1a rocket lifted off from Baikonur. To reach the ISS, it will take two orbits around the Earth (about three hours and 17 minutes). At 15:20 Moscow time, the docking with the Rassvet module is scheduled.
Since May, Peresild and Shipenko have been preparing for the trip. They researched space gear, worked on their physical conditioning, and received psychological training. They are going to the ISS to film a space drama called Challenge, which is about a female doctor who agrees to go into space to save the life of a cosmonaut. Russian cosmonauts Anton Shkaplerov, Oleg Novitsky, and Pyotr Dubrov will take part in the shooting of the feature film episodes.
Peresild and Shipenko will remain in orbit for 12 days before returning to Earth on the Soyuz MS-18 spacecraft with cosmonaut Oleg Novitsky, who has been on the ISS since April. Novitsky will return to Earth on October 17, while Shkaplerov and Dubrov will remain in orbit for another 174 days.
The Russian crew will greet the arrival of crewed spacecraft Soyuz MS-20 with space tourists and Soyuz MS-21 with cosmonauts, cargo ship Progress MS-18 and nodal module Prichal, as well as three spacewalks to connect the multipurpose research module Nauka with the ISS.
One of Shkaplerov’s responsibilities is to put a novel composite radiation shielding material through its paces. According to information on the Russian space company Roscosmos’ website, the Russian crew will conduct at least 30 experiments in space biology, physiology, materials processing, Earth remote sensing, and cosmic ray physics.