On March 27, 2015, NASA Astronaut Scott Kelly launched to the International Space Station to begin a historic mission that is sure to have a lasting impact on human spaceflight. Kelly and Russian Cosmonaut Mikhail Korienko spent a year in space pushing the limits of the human body to operate in a microgravity environment thereby collecting valuable data that will benefit numerous human research studies—advancing human health for global citizens and also furthering NASA’s goal to send space explorers deeper into our solar system.
On March 1, 2016 the duo returned to Earth—completing 340 consecutive days on orbit. Kelly and Kornienko supported a broad range of science and operations, in addition to human research studies during their year-long adventure. Let’s take a look back at some of the highlights from the incredible Year In Space mission.
Science behind Year In Space
During the mission, over 400 science experiments were conducted on the International Space Station. Both, Kelly and Korienko were involved in numerous medical, psychological and biomedical investigations that were designed to monitor and assess the challenges associated with long-duration spaceflight The human research investigations were grouped into seven categories: visual impairment, physical performance, functional, behavioral health, human factors, metabolic, and microbial. These studies included monitoring cardiovascular health, immune system performance, biochemical indicators within the body, fluid shifts, ocular health, and much more.
Additionally, Scott Kelly and his twin brother, Mark Kelly, participated in the Twins Study. This study gave scientists a unique opportunity to collect and analyze data that would contribute to the advancement of personalized medicine. This research initiative was a collaborative effort between NASA, several universities, and federal laboratories that included 10 individual scientific investigations.
Spacewalks, Rockets and Cargo
In addition to science, Kelly and the Year In Space crew supported many operations on space station, which included several spacewalks. Kelly completed three spacewalks during his 340-day mission. The spacewalks included routine maintenance activities as well as preparatory work for future commercial crew docking ports.
Thanks to several resupply vehicles, the space station was well stocked with supplies during the yearlong mission. Six resupply spacecraft visited the space station, including SpaceX’s Dragon, Orbital ATK’s Cygnus, a Japanese HTV, and three Russian Progress vehicles totaling nearly 34,000 pounds of cargo, science, and supplies delivered during that time.
The Power of Teamwork
The collaboration between the US and Russia was integral to the success of the Year In Space mission. The crew, Kelly and Korienko, endeavored on the journey of a lifetime, conducting crucial research that will hopefully better prepare future astronauts for long-duration missions that will result in new discoveries within our solar system and beyond. In addition to Kelly and Korienko, there was a total of 13 astronauts and cosmonauts that lived and worked on the space station during the one-year mission. The ISS remains of symbol of global cooperation and this yearlong mission exemplified the value of this global teamwork as countries supported scientific endeavors that will advance our understanding of the human body, our home planet and future space missions.