October 7, 2021
Categories: Challenge, ISS

The Soyuz MS-19 spaceship crewmembers, which docked on October 5, 2021 to the Rassvet Mini-Research Module of the Russian segment of the International Space Station, opened the hatches and egressed into the ISS. After that, the 65th long-term expedition crew had their first communication session with the Baikonur Cosmodrome and the TsNIIMash Mission Control Center (part of Roscosmos).

After opening the hatches between the Soyuz MS-19 and the ISS, a crew of 10 started their work at the station. The crew is composed of Roscosmos cosmonauts Oleg Novitskiy, Pyotr Dubrov and Anton Shkaplerov, as well as spaceflight participants of the scientific and educational project ‘The Challenge’ filmmaker Klim Shipenko and actress Yulia Peresild, NASA astronaut Mark Vande Hei, Shane Kimbrough and Megan MacArthur, European Space Agency astronaut Tomas Pesquet, and Japanese Aerospace Exploration Agency astronaut Akihiko Hoshide.

This is the fourth spaceflight for the Hero of Russia, Roscosmos cosmonaut Anton Shkaplerov. For the first time he went into space in November 2011. The spaceflight participants are into their debut flight.

The 66th long-term expedition is to work for 174 days in orbit, while the spaceflight participants will stay at the ISS for not less than 12 days. Klim Shipenko and Yulia Peresild are to return to Earth on October 17 together Roscosmos astronaut Oleg Novitskiy aboard the ‘Yuri Gagarin’ (Soyuz MS-18) spaceship. Anton Shkaplerov is to return home tentatively in March 2022 together with Roscosmos astronaut Pyotr Dubrov and NASA astronaut Mark Vande Hei.

The new long-term expedition program includes about fifty scientific applications and experiments, station maintenance work, retrofitting it with equipment delivered by cargo ships. Four experiments are to be performed automatically. In particular, 21 studies on space biology and physiology are scheduled, 15 experiments on development of advanced space technologies, six on space materials science, two on physics of cosmic rays, one to study the Earth from space (‘Terminator’ experiment) and the remaining five are practical tasks and educational activities.

The scientific and educational project ‘Challenge’ will be implemented during the 66th expedition to the ISS, where Russians will be the first in the world to shoot a feature film in space. The film tentatively called ‘The Challenge’ will be about a girl doctor, who due to dramatic circumstances has a month to prepare for the flight and go to the ISS to solve an important problem. This is not just the first movie in orbit, but part of a joint scientific and educational project of Roscosmos, Channel One and Yellow, Black, White studio. The project will demonstrate that spaceflights are gradually becoming available not only for professionals, but also for a wider range of people. For example, a similar accelerated training of the film participants in the future will be needed to send into orbit other specialists, doctors and scientists.

In 2020, Roscosmos and Channel One launched an open competition among girls. At the end of the first stage, 20 finalists were selected. Then the medical and expert commission conducted a comprehensive check of the participants to comply with medical, physical and psychological requirements, education and professional suitability for spaceflight and work in space conditions. Actress Yulia Peresild and her backup Alyona Mordovina, who successfully passed the State Commission, were enrolled to the Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Center, where they, together with ‘The Challenge’ director Klim Shipenko and cameraman Alexey Dudin, underwent accelerated training.

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