Russian team first to shoot feature movie in space

A Russian actress and a film director are at the International Space Station on a mission to film scenes for the first feature movie shot in outer space.

The project is the brainchild of Russia's space agency Roscosmos and a Russian television station.

The Soyuz MS-19 lifted off from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan on Tuesday. On board were actress Yulia Peresild, film director Klim Shipenko and their veteran cosmonaut guide.

In the film Peresild plays a surgeon who rushes to the space station to save a crew member.

The filming on the ISS is scheduled for 12 days.

Speaking to reporters on Monday before her spaceflight, Peresild said the rigorous training she underwent was a challenge both psychologically and physically, but that she is looking forward to the filming.

The Russian project comes ahead of a similar US plan involving actor Tom Cruise.

In April, Russia marked the 60th anniversary of the world's first successful manned spaceflight, which took place when the country was part of the former Soviet Union.

Under President Vladimir Putin, Russia has been promoted space exploration at a time of intensifying global competition with its rivals the United States and China.