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US astronaut, Russian cosmonaut to spend a year in space

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The bright Sun, a portion of the International Space Station and Earth's horizon are featured in this image photographed during the STS-134 mission's fourth spacewalk in May 2011. A NASA photo

WASHINGTON (BNS): As the world prepares to undertake deep space missions beyond low-Earth orbit, two veteran spacefarers - a NASA astronaut and a Russian cosmonaut - have been chosen for a year-long mission aboard the International Space Station (ISS) in 2015.

NASA's Scott Kelly and Russian federal space agency Roscosmos' Mikhail Kornienko will launch aboard a Russian Soyuz spacecraft from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan in spring 2015 and will land in Kazakhstan in spring 2016, the US space agency announced on Monday.

The long-tenure expedition - first for the ISS as all previous missions there have lasted not more than six months - is aimed at collecting scientific data crucial for future human exploration of the Solar System. It would enable scientists to understand better how the human body reacts and adapts to the harsh environment of space.

While Kelly has been a part of four space missions between 1999 and 2011, and logged more than 180 days in space, Kornienko has served as a flight engineer on ISS's Expedition 23/24 crews in 2010 and has logged more than 176 days in space.

Data from the 12-month expedition will help inform current assessments of crew performance and health and will determine better and validate countermeasures to reduce the risks associated with future exploration, the space agency said.

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, NASA said.

Kelly and Kornienko will begin a two-year training programme in the US, Russia and other partner nations starting early next year.

Tags:

NASA  Roscosmos  ISS  Space  Moon  Mars  
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