WASHINGTON, Nov. 26 (UPI) -- A U.S. astronaut and a Russian cosmonaut have been chosen for an unprecedented one-year mission aboard the International Space Station in 2015, NASA says.
NASA, the Russian Federal Space Agency Roscosmos and their international partners have selected Scott Kelly and Mikhail Kornienko for the mission that will include collecting scientific data on the long-term effects of living in space, important to future human exploration of our solar system, a NASA release said
The pair will launch aboard a Russian Soyuz spacecraft from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan in spring 2015 and will not return to Earth until spring 2016.
"Their skills and previous experience aboard the space station align with the mission's requirements," said William Gerstenmaier, associate administrator for Human Exploration and Operations at NASA Headquarters in Washington.
"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."
Kelly has logged more than 180 days in space, while Kornienko has seen 176 days in orbit.
The two will begin a two-year training program in the United States, Russia and other partner nations starting in early 2013.