It's Official — One Year ISS Mission in 2015

It's Official — One Year ISS Mission in 2015

NASA made it official today.  Two International Space Station (ISS) crew members will remain aboard the ISS for a one-year mission that begins in 2015, the first time the ISS will host a mission of that duration.

Typical ISS missions these days are for 6 months.  If astronauts are to journey to asteroids and Mars someday, though, experience needs to be gained on how humans react to the space environment — weightlessness, radiation, isolation — for longer periods of time.

NASA’s ISS program manager, Mike Sufferdini, said the one-year mission “will help us move closer to those journeys.”

The ISS usual crew complement is six, but only two of them — one Russian and one American — will stay on orbit for the one-year mission while others come and go.   The Russians paved the way for such missions on its Mir space station and four cosmonauts were in space continuously for one year or more.    Valeriy Polyakov holds the space endurance record of 437.7 days (about 14 months) on Mir from 1994-1995.  Sergei Avdeev was aboard Mir for 380 days in 1998-1999.  Vladimir Titov and Musa Manarov were aboard Mir for 366 days from 1987-1988.   In all these cases, other cosmonauts came and left for shorter stays.   Like the ISS, Mir was a modular space station.  It was deorbited in 2001.

Russian space agency (Roscosmos) director of human spaceflight Alexei Krasnov said earlier this week that a year-long ISS mission was being planned.  NASA issued a press release today saying that “NASA and its international partners have announced an agreement” for the one-year mission.   Canada, Japan, and 11 members of the European Space Agency (ESA) are partners in the ISS program along with the United States and Russia.

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