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Russian Film Crew Wraps Space Station Shoot and Returns to Earth

  • October 17, 2021

But drama on the station turned real on Friday when it was tilted out of its position in orbit during a test of the thrusters on the capsule that ferried the film crew home to Earth. Mr. Novitsky had been testing out the engines, Roscosmos said, but they fired longer than expected, according to a NASA statement. The station, which is the size of a football field, was tilted 57 degrees out of position, according to Russian mission control officials quoted by Interfax, a Russian news agency.

The incident sprang Russian and NASA officials into action, and they corrected the station’s positioning within 30 minutes. It was the second such emergency since July, when Russia’s new Nauka module erroneously fired its thrusters, shifting the station one and a half revolutions — about 540 degrees — before it came to a stop upside down.

Whatever caused the problems with the spacecraft’s thruster on Friday did not recur as the film crew and Mr. Novitsky departed the station Saturday night.

“The Soyuz is in good shape, was declared ready to support undocking and landing this evening, and everything is in order for the departure,” said Rob Navias, a NASA spokesman, during a livestream of the process.

Russia’s space agency announced its intention last year to send an actress to the space station shortly after plans emerged that Tom Cruise would trek to space as part of an action-adventure film directed by Doug Liman. Jim Bridenstine, who served as NASA’s administrator under President Donald Trump, confirmed the plans on Twitter at the time, but no updates on the film project have emerged since that time. Other entertainment projects centered on the International Space Station may occur in the years to come, including a Discovery Channel reality TV competition called “Who Wants to Be an Astronaut?”

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