Roscosmos, the Russian space agency, wants to re-launch morale. The film, produced by the head of the agency, could be called “The Challenge”.
Russia issued two announcements in quick succession on Thursday. The first project is to send a film crew to film a feature film on board the International Space Station in October. The country also plans to put a Japanese billionaire into orbit in December.
The ads come as space agency Roscosmos has been battling for years and trying to resurrect itself after corruption and competition scandals from Elon Musk’s Space X company.
The first announcement, issued Thursday, was to send Japanese billionaire Yusaku Maezawa and his assistant Yuzu Hirano to the International Space Station, responsible for documenting the adventure. The flight will take place on December 8, aboard a Soyuz missile.
“The duration of the space flight will be 12 days,” the agency said, adding that crew training would begin in June for the flight scheduled for December 8th.
Yusaku Maezawa, 45, commented in a press release from Space Adventures, the moderator who organized the short excursion.
Also a NASA movie
Roscosmos also announced that it will send actress Julia Peresild, 36, and director Clem Chipinko, 37, on board the International Space Station in October.
There they had to film “the first fictional film in space,” a work we only know for the tentative name: “The Challenge.”
The film is produced by Dmitry Rogozin, president of Roscosmos, who wants Russia to be the first to implement such a project, while NASA works with Tom Cruise for the same purposes. The Russian budget was not disclosed.
The announcement of the resumption of tourist flights to the International Space Station with the Japanese billionaire comes at a time when Moscow in 2020 lost the monopoly on manned flights since 2011 and the retirement of the US “space shuttle”.
Since May 2020, SpaceX’s rockets and capsules have sent astronauts to the station, winning impressive contracts from NASA but also from 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 latter was the founder of Cirque du Soleil, the Canadian Jay La Liberty.
The eccentric Japanese billionaire who would leave him made a fortune in internet commerce.
It cultivates a passion for space and a desire to stay there. He even plans to take eight people to accompany him on a trip around the moon, scheduled for 2023 with the Elon Musk airline.
Neither Space Adventures nor Roscosmos has disclosed how much Yusaku Maezawa will spend to reserve two of the three seats in the Soyuz capsule.
Over 20 million dollars for the seat
According to Forbes magazine, which is very well introduced to the billionaire retinue, the cost of the seat ranges from 20 to 35 million dollars for eight to twelve days aboard the orbiting station.
The windfall gains are significant, as Roscosmos’s budget has been severely cut. The sector has also long been plagued by corruption and has suffered from the loss of satellite launch contracts.
In addition to space tourism and cinema, the president of Roscosmos, Dmitry Rogozin, has promised to revive his country with a series of ambitious projects.
Russian station project
The most recent of which was the abandonment of the International Space Station by 2025, at the end of its life, to build, as in Soviet times, a purely Russian space station.
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 projects has a specific budget or timeline.
President Vladimir Putin in April ordered him to review current projects, arguing on the 60th anniversary of Yuri Gagarin’s first space flight that Russia should remain a great space power.