HOUSTON, TX - Taking a year abroad rarely starts out with, “We have lift off!” but the one-year space journey for Scott Kelly and Mikhail Kornienko launched flawlessly today from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan, heading to the International Space Station.
This is Kelly’s fourth and longest trip into the final frontier. In fact this is the longest NASA has ever kept an astronaut in space.
The goal is to better understand how the human body reacts and adapts to the harsh environment of space. And because Scott happens to have a twin brother, Mark Kelly, who's also an astronaut, they'll have an identical subject to study here on Earth throughout the mission.
And why stay so long? NASA has their eyes set on getting to Mars, and the trip will be a long one. One short spacecraft ride to the I.S.S., one long celestial year abroad.