Taking a two week or even month long break away from the stress of everyday life is something all of us dream about and some even cash in on. Not all of us have the luxury of stepping away from our jobs for an extended period of time, but imagine escaping it all for one whole year like Orange native, Captain Scott Kelly. The key difference here is that Kelly will be in outer space hard at work.
Kelly, a veteran astronaut and U.S. Navy captain, was selected to embark on the longest single space mission for an American along with Roscosmos cosmonaut Mikhail Kornienko, NASA announced on Monday. The duo will be traveling aboard a Russian Soyuz spacecraft and take part in a one-year mission to the International Space Station. The launch is set for the spring of 2015 from Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. According to a press release from NASA, the pair has worked together previouslywhen Kelly was a backup crew member for the stations 23/24 crew where Kornienko was a flight engineer.
The mission’s focus is to help scientists explore the effects of living in space on the human body, NASA said to CNN. All the data the astronauts collect will be helpful in providing information regarding health and crew performance, as well as help with determining and validating risk-reduction measures. In turn it will all assist in the planning for future missions to other celestial worlds, such as an asteroid or Mars, according to NASA.
“Selection of the candidate for the one year mission was thorough and difficult due to the number of suitable candidates from the Cosmonaut corps,” stated Vladimir Popovkin, head of Russian Federal Space Agency. “We have chosen the most responsible, skilled and enthusiastic crew members to expand space exploration, and we have full confidence in them.”
Up to this point in his career, Kelly was a pilot in 1999 on a space shuttle mission and then in 2007, he was a commander on STS-118. In 2010, Kelly was a flight engineer on International Space Station Expedition 25 and commander of Expedition 26 in 2011. His identical twin brother, Mark Kelly, is also an astronaut and the wife of Gabrielle Giffords, a former Congresswoman who was the target of an assasination attempt in 2011.
Russian-born Kornienko hails from the Syzran, Kuibyshev, region and has worked in the space industry since 1986. Cumulatively, CNN reports, he has spent 176 days in space.