Russia announced Thursday in quick succession that a film crew will shoot a feature film aboard the International Space Station in October, before putting a Japanese billionaire into orbit in December.
The ads come at a time when space agency Roscosmos has struggled for years and is trying to resurrect itself after corruption and competition scandals from Elon Musk’s Space X company.
The first announcement on Thursday was to send wealthy Japanese businessman Yusaku Maezawa and his assistant Yuzu Hirano to the International Space Station, responsible for documenting the adventure. The flight will begin on December 8 aboard a Soyuz missile.
Roscosmos said the mission would last 12 days and crew training would begin in June.
Yusaku Maezawa, 45, commented in a press release from Space Adventures, the moderator who organized the short excursion.
Additionally, the Russian Space Agency announced in October that it would send actress Yulia Peresild, 36, and director Klem Tchibenko, 37, on board the International Space Station.
There they had to film “the first fictional film in space,” a work we only know for the tentative name: “The Challenge.”
“Wish us luck! », Wrote on Instagram Yulia Peressild, known mainly in Russia for historical feature films.
This new movie is produced by the first Russian TV channel, Pervyi Kanal, and Dmitry Rogozin, president of Roscosmos, who wants Russia to be the first to implement such a project.
Pervyi Kanal CEO Konstantin Ernst said the filming will be part of a larger project, including documentaries, to revive the “love and passion” of Russians for the conquest of space.
Meanwhile, NASA is working with Tom Cruise to shoot a movie in space as well.
The announcement of the resumption of tourist flights to the International Space Station, for its part, comes after Moscow in 2020 lost the monopoly on manned flights to the space station.
Since May 2020, SpaceX’s rockets can send astronauts to it, and win exciting NASA contracts, but also in Europe.
This represents a deficit of tens of millions of dollars per seat for Russia.
Roscosmos and Space Adventures actually teamed up between 2001 and 2009 to send wealthy entrepreneurs into space eight times. The most recent of which was Canadian founder Cirque du Soleil Guy Laliberty.
The eccentric Japanese billionaire who would leave him made a fortune in internet commerce.
He is developing a passion for space and has already planned to take eight people to accompany him on a trip around the moon, scheduled for 2023 with Space X.
Neither Space Adventures nor Roscosmos has disclosed how much Yusaku Maezawa will spend to reserve two of the three seats in the Soyuz capsule.
According to Forbes, the cost of the seat ranges from $ 20 million to $ 35 million for eight to twelve days aboard the International Space Station.
These windfall gains cannot be neglected, as Roscosmos’s budget has suffered from severe cuts. The Russian sector has also long suffered from corruption and has suffered from the loss of satellite launch contracts.
Besides space tourism and cinema, Dmitry Rogozin promised to revive Russia with a series of ambitious projects.
In particular, abandon the International Space Station by 2025, at the end of its life, to equip itself with a purely Russian station, such as the Soviet Union that created its own station (Mir).
Moscow and Beijing also signed a memorandum of understanding to build a station in orbit, or even on the moon, after Russia decided to close the door to a lunar project in Washington that is considered very American.
But none of these Russian projects has a specific budget or timeline.
President Vladimir Putin in April ordered a review of existing projects, arguing on the 60th anniversary of Yuri Gagarin’s first space flight that Moscow should remain a great space power.