Plans to send Russian actor Vladimir Steklov to the Mir space station to shoot a feature film have fallen through because the film-makers have been unable to raise finance for the project.
Russian Aerospace Agency spokesman Konstantin Kreidenko said the actor will not travel to Mir due to the "nonfulfilment of certain contractual terms". Steklov was due to take off from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan at the end of the month and stay in space from 45 to 180 days. Two real cosmonauts will still blast off on April 4 for a flight lasting up to 90 days.
Alexander Sorokin, the co-ordinator of the $70m The Final Journey said: "Steklov will not go to Mir as the length of the mission has been prolonged from 45 days to 90. This means that we have to pay more money. We are planning to send Steklov to Mir when the next mission takes place. Crew members will still spend part of their time shooting some footage for the film and we plan to start shooting on Earth very soon."
The Final Journey is being produced by Russian production outfit Sokol and the US' VIDEFCO. Russia''s Yuri Kara is set to direct from a script based on Chingiz Aitmatov''s novel The Mark of Cassandra. The UK's John Daly is producing.
The film is about the last cosmonaut on the ailing space station Mir who refuses to return to earth. Instead he stays in space transmitting messages begging for world peace. The Russians decide to send a female cosmonaut into space to lure him down.