Crew Chosen for Yearlong Space Station Mission
Both Scott Kelly, an American, and Mikhail Kornienko, a Russian, have spent a total of about six months aboard the station during previous missions.
A truly remote workplace, the International Space Station, will be home to two men for a full year starting in 2015. NASA announced on Nov. 26 the chosen crewmen for a one-year mission, an unusually long duration that will provide important data for future long spaceflights, including to Mars someday, according to the agency.
"During the 12 years of permanent human presence aboard the International Space Station, scientists and researchers have gained valuable, and often surprising, data on the effects of microgravity on bone density, muscle mass, strength, vision and other aspects of human physiology. This yearlong stay will allow for greater analysis of these effects and trends," the agency's news release stated.
NASA selected veteran space shuttle and ISS astronaut Scott Kelly, and the Russian Federal Space Agency (Roscosmos) selected Mikhail Kornienko. Each of them has spent a total of about six months aboard the space station during missions in 2010 and/or 2011.
Their mission will begin with a launch aboard a Russian Soyuz spacecraft from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan in spring 2015 and will end with their landing in Kazakhstan in spring 2016.
"Congratulations to Scott and Mikhail on their selection for this important mission," said William Gerstenmaier, associate administrator for Human Exploration and Operations at NASA headquarters in Washington, D.C. "Their skills and previous experience aboard the space station align with the mission's requirements. The one-year increment will expand the bounds of how we live and work in space and will increase our knowledge regarding the effects of microgravity on humans as we prepare for future missions beyond low-Earth orbit."
"Selection of the candidate for the one year mission was thorough and difficult due to the number of suitable candidates from the Cosmonaut corps," said Vladimir Popovkin, who heads Roscosmos. "We have chosen the most responsible, skilled, and enthusiastic crew members to expand space exploration, and we have full confidence in them."
Kelly is a captain in the U.S. Navy and is from Orange, N.J. Kornienko is from the Syzran, Kuibyshev region of Russia.