Russia, NASA Pick Astronauts for Yearlong Orbital Mission

MOSCOW, November 26 (RIA Novosti) – Russia’s Federal Space Agency Roscosmos and NASA have chosen two participants of an experimental yearlong endurance mission to the International Space Station (ISS) in 2015, Roscosmos said on Monday.

Russian cosmonaut Mikhail Korniyenko and NASA astronaut Scott Kelly have been picked to carry out the mission, which will be twice as long as typical six-month trips to ISS.

“It was a tough choice among many excellent candidates, but we have chosen the best and we are absolutely confident about their dedication and abilities,” Roscosmos head, Vladimir Popovkin, said.

Korniyenko, 52, has spent a total of 176 days in space as part of Expedition 23/24 crew in 2010. He carried out a spacewalk that lasted almost seven hours.

Kelly, 48, has logged over 180 days in space serving as a pilot on space shuttle mission STS-103 in 1999, commander on STS-118 in 2007, flight engineer on the ISS Expedition 25 in 2010 and commander of Expedition 26 in 2011.

The two already have a connection since Kelly was a backup crew member on the mission where Korniyenko was a flight engineer.

The head of Roscosmos manned space missions Alexei Krasnov said in October that a scientific program for the marathon mission had already been tailored.

A one-year mission on the ISS would certainly give scientists the opportunity to observe some of the longer-term effects of spaceflight beyond what crews have reported to date, and prepare for future manned missions to Mars and beyond.

Attempts to study the long-term physiological and physiological effects of human spaceflight have been made before.

Russian cosmonaut Valery Polyakov spent nearly 438 consecutive days in space during an endurance mission aboard the Mir Space Station. The mission began in January 1994 and ended in March 1995.

Last year, six volunteers from Russia, Europe and China completed the unique Mars 500 experiment simulating a manned flight to the Red Planet. They spent 520 days confined in a capsule set up at a research institute in Moscow.


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