U.S., Russian Crew Begins Yearlong Space Station Mission

Kazakhstan Russia Space Station

U.S. astronaut Scott Kelly, along with Russian cosmonauts Mikhail Kornienko and Gennady Padalka, arrived on the International Space Station after taking off aboard a Russian Soyuz capsule on Friday, marking the start of an orbital stay that could set two records. Kelly and Kornienko will spend almost a year on the station, which in Kelly's case will best the U.S. record for longest-duration spaceflight by more than 100 days. The men will undergo intense medical monitoring for studies aimed at determining how ultra-long-term spaceflight affects the human body. Russian cosmonauts have been in space continuously for as long as 437 days, so Kelly and Kornienko won't set a world record. But Padalka has his own record to set: If he stays in orbit until his scheduled return in October, he'll chalk up an unprecedented cumulative total of nearly 900 days in space.

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