Veteran NASA Astronaut Crew Set for a Year-Long Space Flight

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By Jenalyn Villamarin | November 28, 2012 4:36 PM EST

NASA and the Russian Federal Space Agency chose veteran astronauts Scott Kelly and Mikhail Kornienko to embark on a one-year mission aboard the International Space Station in 2015.

The longest space flight mission that will launch on spring 2015 from Kazakhstan will gather important scientific data for the future human exploration on the solar system.

The extensive mission that was approved about two months ago will present a scientific foundation for upcoming expeditions around the moon as well as trips to asteroids and Mars.

Scott Kelly and Mikhail Kornienko both have a six-month experience living aboard the space station. NASA wanted experienced space station astronauts for a much longer mission. Both veteran astronauts will start their training in 2013.

Scott Kelly is a 48-year-old divorced Navy captain with two daughters while Mikhail Kornienko is a 52-year-old rocket engineer who is married and has a daughter.

"We have chosen the most responsible, skilled and enthusiastic crew members to expand space exploration and we have full confidence in them," Russian Space Agency Chief Vladimir Popovkin said in the announcement.

"Their skills and previous experience aboard the space station align with the mission's requirements. 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," Bill Gerstenmaier, head of human exploration for NASA, said in a released statement.

NASA also declared that official news conferences summarizing the upcoming mission would be scheduled next week.

Boris Morukov, head of the Moscow-based Institute for Medical and Biological Problems which is Russia's main space medicine research center, revealed to the Interfax news agency that communications and food rations for Scott Kelly and Mikhail Kornienko may be restricted to some extent during their one-year mission to have better simulate interplanetary travel. Both men will launch aboard a Russian rocket from Kazakhstan.

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