American astronaut Scott Kelly and his Russian counterpart Mikhail Kornienko blasted off early Saturday on a mission to spend an entire year away from the Earth. The trip is NASA’s first attempt at a one-year spaceflight, anticipating Mars expeditions that would last two to three years.
Their Soyuz space capsule set off from Russia’s manned space launch facility on the steppes of Kazakhstan at 1:42 am local time (1942 GMT Friday) and was to dock with the International Space Station about six hours later after making four orbits of the planet.
Cosmonaut Gennady Padalka of Russia was also aboard their Soyuz capsule.
He is scheduled for the standard six-month tour of duty aboard the space station.
Kelly and Kornienko, 54, will remain on board until next March.
During that time, they will undergo extensive medical experiments, and prepare the station for the anticipated 2017 arrival of new US commercial crew capsules.
Source: Associated Press
Expedition 43 Russian Cosmonaut Mikhail Kornienko of the Russian Federal Space Agency (Roscosmos), top, NASA Astronaut Scott Kelly, center, and Russian Cosmonaut Gennady Padalka of Roscosmos wave farewell as they board the Soyuz TMA-16M spacecraft ahead of their launch to the International Space Station, Friday, March 27, 2015 in Baikanor, Kazakhstan. As the one-year crew, Kelly and Kornienko will return to Earth on Soyuz TMA-18M in March 2016. Photo Credit (NASA/Bill Ingalls) #NASA #Roscosmos #YearInSpace #astronaut #cosmonaut #Soyuz
With the launch of this Russian Soyuz spacecraft, @StationCDRKelly and his crew members Gennady Padalka and Mikhail Kornienko began a six-hour journey to the International Space Station. For Kelly and Kornienko, the launch began a #YearInSpace to conduct extensive research on the effect of long duration space travel on the human body. #launch #iss #science #nasa #YearInSpace
A video posted by International Space Station (@iss) on
And lift off! At 3:42pm EDT, NASA astronaut @StationCDRKelly and Russian cosmonauts Mikhail Kornienko and Gennady Padalka launched aboard a Soyuz spacecraft to the International Space Station. Kelly and Kornienko will begin the first-ever one-year mission to the space station, testing the limits of human research and preparing us for a journey to Mars. #nasa #iss #launch #photography #science #space #YearInSpace #nofilter Photo credit: NASA/Bill Ingalls