It is obvious that Russia has no intention of letting the US, in any guise, get the better of them in the race to space in the 21st Century. With some of the world's richest men like Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos having their eyes set on colonizing space; it is understandable that as Americans, their achievements in this regard, would no doubt be a feather in the hat of America as a nation. So, it is absolutely clear why the Russians wanted to have a "first" on the Americans by becoming the first nation to shoot a movie in space.
A Russian film director and the Film's lead actress touched down on earth again on Sunday after staying 12 days on the International Space Station (ISS) filming scenes for the first film to be shot in space.
According to footage streamed live by the Russian space agency, Yulia Peresild and Klim Shipenko landed on Kazakhstan's steppe at 0436 GMT, as planned.
They were returned to Earth by cosmonaut Oleg Novitsky, who had spent the previous six months in the space station. And the nation was assured that the crewed spacecraft Soyuz MS-18's descent vehicle was standing upright and safe and with the crew in good spirits by the Russian space agency, Roscosmos in a tweet.
Earlier this month, the filmmakers used the Russia-leased Baikonur Cosmodrome in ex-Soviet Kazakhstan to film sequences for "The Challenge" aboard the International Space Station with veteran cosmonaut Anton Shkaplerov.
If the project stays on schedule, the Russian team will outperform a Hollywood initiative unveiled last year by Tom Cruise of "Mission Impossible" fame, NASA, and Elon Musk's SpaceX.
The film's plot which has been mostly kept a well-guarded secret as well as its budget is believed to revolve around a physician who is sent to the International Space Station to save a cosmonaut.
It is believed that Shkaplerov, 49, will appear in the video alongside two other Russian cosmonauts who were already aboard the ISS.
However, the expedition experienced a few minor glitches. One of which was that Shkaplerov needed to resort to manual control when the film team docked at the ISS earlier this month.
A NASA spokeswoman also added that the ship's thruster suddenly fired, destabilizing the ISS for 30 minutes when Russian flight controllers conducted a test on the Soyuz MS-18 spacecraft on Friday. However, the official verified that their departure will take place as planned.
The Space Race in the Twenty-First Century
According to Konstantin Ernst, the leader of the Kremlin-friendly Channel One TV network and a co-producer of "The Challenge," their landing, which was captured by a film crew, will also be featured in the film.
The mission will add to a long list of Russia's accomplishments
Although the Soviets were the first nation to launch into space with Sputnik, the first satellite, and sent the first dog, Laika, the first man, Yuri Gagarin, and the first woman, Valentina Tereshkova, into orbit; they have nevertheless seemed to have fallen behind in the 21st century, as the Russian nation has struggled to innovate in comparison to the Soviet Union days, with its space sector now having to compete for public financing as the Kremlin prioritizes military investment.
In addition, the Russian space program continues to depend on Soviet-designed technology and has consequently suffered a series of setbacks, including corruption scandals and botched launches.
Russia is also losing ground in the global space race, where it is up against stiff competition from the United States and China, which is pursuing its space aspirations.
Last year, SpaceX successfully delivered men to the International Space Station, eliminating Russia's monopoly on journeys to the orbital station.
Russia's space program said this year that it will revive its tourism proposal to shuttle fee-paying adventurers to the International Space Station to improve its image and diversify its finances.
After a decade-long hiatus, Russia will send two Japanese tourists to the International Space Station in December, including billionaire Yusaku Maezawa, capping a year that has been a watershed moment for amateur space flight.
And the race is on.... again!
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