His Pete "Maverick" Mitchell may have bested Russian fliers in Top Gun, but the Russians have beaten Tom Cruise to space.
Cruise was gearing up to with work with NASA and SpaceX genius Elon Musk for what would have been the first narrative feature film actually shot in space.
However, as you read this, Roscosmos cosmonaut Anton Shkaplerov, along with star Yulia Peresild and her director Kim Shipenko, have likely already docked their Soyuz capsule with the International Space Station on a mission to shoot a movie there. The feature, The Challenge, is about a mission to send a doctor into space to save the life of a cosmonaut.
Cruise can still take comfort in the fact that he'll be the first narrative Hollywood film to shoot in space, however. The hush-hush project was endorsed by former NASA administrator Jim Bridenstein, who said last year that such an effort could "inspire a new generation of engineers and scientists to make @NASA’s ambitious plans a reality."
Incidentally, ABC News is reporting that the capsule that brought the Russian crew to the ISS was originally scheduled to take NASA astronaut Mark T. Vande Hei and cosmonaut Peter Dubrov back to Earth later this month. The movie mission will delay Vande Hei's return until next March, which means when he returns he'll have broken astronaut Scott Kelly's spaceflight record by eleven days.
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