NASA and its international partners have agreed to send one American astronaut and two Russian cosmonauts to the International Space Station for one year via a Russian Soyuz spacecraft, NASA announced Friday.
The one-year mission aboard the ISS will start in the spring of 2015.
NASA said the astronauts will gather scientific data related to human travel into space including data on human performance, health, reactions and risks related to space exploration.
“In order for us to eventually move beyond low Earth orbit, we need to better understand how humans adapt to long-term spaceflight,” said Michael Suffredini, International Space Station program manager. “The space station serves as a vital scientific resource for teaching us those lessons, and this yearlong expedition aboard the complex will help us move closer to those journeys.”
“We have gained new knowledge about the effects of spaceflight on the human body from the scientific research conducted on the space station, and it is the perfect time to test a one-year expedition aboard the orbital laboratory,” said Julie Robinson, NASA’s program scientist for the International Space Station. “What we will gain from this expedition will influence the way we structure our human research plans in the future.
For 12 years, researchers have collected data on microgravity’s impact on the human body aboard the ISS and NASA said it will use this mission as a pilot for future exploration technology.
The U.S. currently relies on the Soyuz for space travel following the retirement of the space shuttle.