A new space race brewing. Instead of focusing on taking humans further into space, it seems we're about to bring the entertainment industry into orbit. There are plans for advertisements and reality TV to head to the International Space Station (ISS), as well a Tom Cruise’s movie with the approval of NASA. Now Roscosmos, the Russian Space Agency, has thrown its hat in the ring.
The agency is working with Russian television Channel One and studio Yellow, Black and White. The film, tentatively called “The Challenge”, will focus on a flight to the ISS on a Soyuz MS spacecraft. The movie will star a woman with the ability to act as well as perform many of the physical and psychological requirements necessary to become a cosmonaut. She has to be Russian between 25 and 45 years of age and have the ability to run, swim, and dive at more than an amateur level. She also has to have good balance and flexibility.
“In the shortest possible time, we need to find more than just an actress — we need a real superhero. We are looking for a woman who can play her role on Earth, and then endure the most difficult preparation, fly into space and there, in a state of weightlessness, also solve the most difficult shooting tasks,” Alexey Trotsyuk, the general Producer of Yellow, Black and White, said in a statement. “If you feel the strength and talent in yourself, and are ready to accept the challenge, this is your chance to become the first!”
The selection committee will choose up to 30 finalists to take part in a televised competition, where the winner and her understudy will finally be selected. The space portion of the movie is expected to be filmed in autumn of 2021 (possibly getting ahead of the Tom Cruise production), and director Klim Shipenko is attached to the project.
The head of Roscomsos, the controversial Dmitry Rogozin, claimed the exercise will provide insights into how quickly and efficiently a professional can be trained to go to space, which he says is something that could be applied to scientists, engineers, and medical professionals.
“This is a kind of space experiment,” Rogozin explained. “The actress selected by a competition and a medical commission will perform the functions of an astronaut-researcher and become a full-fledged member of the crew.”
The ISS has been continuously inhabited for the last 20 years, with its crew producing over 3,000 experiments during that time. Its future is shifting more and more in a commercial direction.