Two veteran space travellers have been picked
for a year-long trip to the International Space Station, the US and
Russian space agencies said Monday.
American astronaut Scott Kelly and Russian cosmonaut Mikhail Kornienko will make the longest-ever trip to the international orbiting laboratory from spring 2015 until the following spring, NASA and Roscosmos said.
The men will study the effects of long-duration spaceflight on the human body that will be used by the space agencies as NASA plans future missions, including a trip to an asteroid with an eye toward eventually sending humans to Mars.
Both Kelly and Kornienko have logged considerable time in space. Kelly made space shuttle flights in 1999 and 2007 and lived aboard the ISS in 2010 and 2011, for a total 180 days in space so far. Kornienko lived aboard the ISS in 2010, and has spent 176 days in space.
The men have already worked and trained together, with the American serving as a backup crew member to ISS expeditions in which the Russian served.
Though the trip will be the longest yet aboard the ISS, a Russian cosmonaut spent more time in space aboard the Mir spacecraft, logging 437 days in 1994 and 1995.
Kelly's twin brother Mark was also a long-time astronaut, but retired last year to care for his wife, former congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, who suffered severe injuries in an attack by a gunman as she met with constituents in January 2011.
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