Russian President Vladimir Putin celebrated the movie’s release, saying: “We are the first to have shot a feature film in orbit, aboard a spacecraft. Once again the first.”
The Challenge was created by the Russian space agency Roscosmos and Russian television network Channel One.
Konstantin Ernst, the head of Channel One, told reporters on Monday that “We are all fans of ‘Gravity’,” referring to the 2013 American space movie featuring George Clooney and Sandra Bullock.
Russia's landmark space movie to open in Serbia on April 20 — presidential aide. The Challenge is the first motion picture to be shot in space at the ISS:https://t.co/8pLrUGIW16 pic.twitter.com/0sv76sWHs3
— TASS (@tassagency_en) April 13, 2023
“But our ‘Challenge’ shot in actual weightlessness shows that was just CGI” in today’s Hollywood movies, Ernst added.
The new film marks another addition to Russia’s long list of space firsts, beginning with the Sputnik satellite successfully launched into orbit by the Soviet Union in 1957.
Since the Sputnik, Russia has beaten the United States in numerous Cold War-era space race feats, such as sending the first animal, man, and woman into space.
The collapse of the Soviet Union, however, preceded decades of space program struggles for Russia. As a partial result of space industry funding disputes in the Kremlin, the country has had several botched launches.
The film’s Thursday release notably occured on the same day that SpaceX’s Starship exploded after over three minutes in flight.
“As if the flight test was not exciting enough, Starship experienced a rapid unscheduled disassembly before stage separation,” SpaceX tweeted after the launch. “Teams will continue to review data and work toward our next flight test.”
— Dan Linden (@DanLinden) April 20, 2023
“With a test like this, success comes from what we learn, and today’s test will help us improve Starship’s reliability as SpaceX seeks to make life multi-planetary,” the company added in a separate tweet. “Congratulations to the entire SpaceX team on an exciting first integrated flight test of Starship!”