Russian director and actress arrive back on Earth onboard MS-18

Over the weekend, Russian cosmonaut Oleg Novitskiy undocked his MS-18 Soyuz spacecraft from the International Space Station. Along for the ride were Russian actress Yulia Peresild and director Klim Shipenko finishing their short stay in space.

The MS-18 spacecraft initially launched in April carrying Novitskiy, fellow cosmonaut Pyotr Dubrov, and NASA astronaut Mark Vande Hei. The plan was to bring Dubrov and Vande Hei back down with the spacecraft, but Roscosmos swapped them for bringing back the first movie crew to film in space.

Russia’s MS-19 Soyuz launched on October 5 and carried with it cosmonaut Anton Shkaplerov along with Peresild and Shipenko. The crew filmed scenes depicting a doctor needing to ride to space to perform an emergency operation on a cosmonaut before returning to Earth.

Novitskiy returns after a 191-day stay on the space station while Peresild and Shipenko finish their 12-day stay. Vande Hei and Dubrov will now stay just shy of one year on the station to continue studying long-term effects on the human body in micro-gravity.

The trio departed the station at 9:14 p.m. EDT inside their spacecraft and landed in Kazakhstan at 12:35 a.m. EDT Sunday. The Challenge, the movie being filmed, will feature Novitskiy playing the cosmonaut that needs saving. Other crew members will also play specific roles in the film or supported the filming behind the scenes. No details yet have been given for the movie’s release.

Onboard the station now lives the crew of Expedition 66, which began once MS-18 undocked. This expedition includes Vande Hei and Dubrov from MS-18, Shkaplerov from MS-16, and SpaceX’s Crew-2. This expedition will continue until the end of March when the MS-19 Soyuz will bring Vande Hei, Dubrov, and Shkaplerov back to Earth.

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