WASHINGTON – WOW! They – Scott Kelly, Mikhail Kornienko and Gennady Padalka – are in orbit after a flawless launch from night time Russia at 3:42 p.m. EDT, March 27, 2015. My heart rate ALWAYS goes up on human space launches and reentries. Getting to space is NEVER easy.
Their Russian made rocket and Soyuz spacecraft performed perfectly to get the trio into space and begin the six-hour chase to rendezvous and dock with the International Space Station which currently has three crew members aboard. WTOP Radio spoke live with Astronauts Terry Virts and Samantha Cristoferetti two weeks ago.
Both Scott and Mikhail (Misha) are beginning their epic ‘One Year In Space’ Mission that will provide medical data on two humans’ long term exposure to space. This acquisition of medical data is pivotal to identifying medical issues for humans on a projected 500 day mission to Mars and ways to overcome them. I have always said that is is really human issues, not technical issues, that will make getting humans to Mars so difficult.
As an added medical data bonus Scott has an identical twin brother, Mark Kelly, who is a retired NASA astronaut. Comparison of medical data from Scott to Mark during the course of the one year mission will provide a unique opportunity in the history of manned spaceflight as I do not think such comparisons have ever been done before.
This mission also shows how space exploration brings out the best in us as Russia and America, who certainly are having Earth-bound issues – are still cooperating in the exploration of the Final Frontier. In order to survive and flourish humanity has to follow this model of international cooperation and expound on it. Failure to do so puts us at grave risk for humanity’s collective future.