Four actresses who are short-listed for trip to the ISS can now be named.
Final selection will be announced on 15th May
Speaking at a Press Briefing at the Progress Rocket Factory, in Samara, on 23rd April Dmitri Rogozin revealed that the Director of the movie Klim Shipenko had completed his medical checks and had been confirmed fit to fly to the ISS. The next step will be for Shipenko and his casting team to select the actress who will accompany him, and cosmonaut Anton Shkaplerov onboard Soyuz MS-19.
Rogozin continued, "At the end of the day, we have to understand that it is always the Director who decides who he will work with. It is important for us now to show him, which of these girls is ready to handle the challenge of the spaceflight."
He explained that, as expected, there had been a high elimination rate among the twenty actresses who had entered the final phase of the contest, in March, which we reported HERE.
"Several girls have been selected, after a huge dropout rate, which was to be expected. The Doctors are very strict and they are checking the whole situation, as there are such high requirements to work in space, even for a short flight." explained the head of Roscosmos.
Their names are :-
Alena Mordovina (b 1987)
Yulia Peresild (b 1984)
Sofya Arzhakovskaya (aka Sofya Skya) (b 1987)
Galina Kairova (b 1994)
According to Rogozin, the leading lady, who will join the Prime Crew of Soyuz MS-19, and her understudy/back-up, will now be selected by Klim Shipenko's creative and casting team, and the TV company First Channel, over the next couple of weeks, as would be the case with any other movie.
It also seems likely that the question of the contracts, agreements and waivers which all parties will doubtless be required to enter into, will be quite complex. The project is unprecedented, and there are numerous scenarios, which could arise during training, the spaceflight and after return to earth which will need to be considered, and ironed out. For example, what if the chosen actress decides to pull out?
Once the actress is chosen, and contracted, the whole crew for Soyuz MS-19, which will be commanded by Shkaplerov, and their back-ups are due to be confirmed, by the State Commission on 13th May. This will tie in with the official announcement which Rogozin alluded to, being made two days later.
However, in a curious twist, on 30th April, just after we published these names above, for the first time, it was revealed that a further group of actress at appeared at the Cosmonaut Training Centre, for testing. It is not clear if these were women from the original twenty finalists, or even the original 3000 entrants.
What we do know, is that this is connected to possible changes to the way the movie will be funded. It seems that private investors have emerged who will fund, or partially fund, the movie, but they also want to have input into the selection of the 'star'.
Pavel Vlasov, Head of the Yuri Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Centre has previously stated that Soyuz MS-19 will be launched on 20th September, giving a training period of only four months. Vlasov has previously said that he, and his team, want to perfect a training process of around this duration, for future Space Tourists. However, other sources still give a projected launch date of 5th October.
After a twelve day stay on the ISS, during which large parts of the movie will be filmed, Shipenko and his leading lady will return to Earth onboard Soyuz MS-18, with departing ISS commander Oleg Novitsky.
The Commission meeting on 13th May, should also confirm the widely predicted crew of Soyuz MS-20, being Russian cosmonaut Alexander Misurkin, and two clients of Space Adventures, Austrian aviator Johanna Maislinger and Japanese entertainer Yumi Matsutoya.
© Tony Quine April 2021