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Russia to send film crew, Japanese billionaire to space

Japanese billionaire Yusaku Maezawa will fly with a production assistant to the International Space Station on a commercial Soyuz mission.

Russia has chosen a famous actress and an award-winning director to fly to the International Space Station and make what it calls the first movie in space.

Yulia Peresild and Klim Shipenko will blast off in a Russian rocket from Baikonur cosmodrome on October 5.

Russian space agency Roscosmos said Peresild and Shipenko have undergone both a medical and a creative selection process. Their special space flight training is to begin no later than June 1, and will include centrifuge and vibration tests, flights on a zero-gravity plane and parachute training.

The whole project will be covered by Russian state TV Channel One. The co-producers of the movie will be Roscosmos chief Dmitry Rogozin and Channel One director Konstantin Ernst.

In a related development, Roscosmos and Space Adventures, a company that brokers commercial flights to the space station, announced that Japanese billionaire Yusaku Maezawa and a production assistant, Yozo Hirano, will launch aboard another Soyuz on December 8.

Maezawa, Founder of ZoZotown, one of Japan’s largest retail websites, also has chartered an eventual flight around the moon aboard a SpaceX Starship rocket.

Russia last sent a space tourist to the ISS in 2009.