Russian space agency Roskosmos and the U.S. – NASA has selected two experienced astronauts for an yearlong mission to the board of the International Space Station (ISS) in 2015, the two agencies announced in a joint statement.
Russian Mikhail Korniyenko (52 years) and American Scott Kelly (48 years, left) will take off from Russian Cosmodrome Baikonur in Kazakhstan in spring of 2015 for an year mission – which will be twice as long as typical six-month trips to ISS, during which they collect “data important for of the scientific missions for exploring the solar system by the humans” says the press release issued by Roskosmos and NASA. “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.
The objective of this mission on the ISS is to better understand the health risks for astronauts space expeditions and how the body responds and adapts to the harsh conditions of space. Data collected during this mission will allow defining with greater precision skills and health of crew members for to reduce the risks associated with future space expeditions will reach the Moon and Mars planet. “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” said NASA’s William Gerstenmaier.
Scientists and researchers will also analyze the impact extended time in space has on the human body including bone density, muscle mass, and vision, officials with Roscosmos said.
Currently duration space missions to the ISS is six months. In late October 2012, the Russian Soyuz capsule with three astronauts on board (two Russian cosmonauts Oleg Noviţki and Eugene Tarelkin – which are on their first mission in space, and American cosmonaut Kevin Ford) was successfully connected to the International Space Station (ISS ). They will remain on board for the next 4 months. On the ISS board also are American astronaut Sunita Williams, Russian Yuri Malentchenko and Japanese Akihiko Hoshide, who are there since July and will finish their mission at the end of this year.
Korniyenko 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 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. To better prepare for this mission by a year, Mikhail Korniyenko and Scott Kelly will enter at the beginning of 2013 in a two-year training program in the United States, Russia and other countries participating in the ISS.
This is not first time when the scientists try 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.