The Russian Federal Space Agency (Roscosmos) assigned Mikhail Kornienko for the year-long mission, and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) chose Scott Kelly for the venture into space.
Russian cosmonaut Mikhail Kornienko is from the Syzran, Kuibyshev region of Russia. He is a former paratrooper officer. He graduated from the Moscow Aviation Institute as a specialist in airborne systems. Kornienko has worked in the space industry since 1986, where he worked at the Rocket and Space Corporation-Energia as a spacewalk handbook specialist.
Kornienko was selected as an Energia test cosmonaut candidate in 1998. He first trained as an International Space Station (ISS) Expedition 8 backup crewmember. Later, Kornienko served as a flight engineer on ISS Expedition 23/24 crews in 2010. He has traveled over 176 days in space.
American astronaut Scott Kelly is a captain in the U.S. Navy. He is from Orange, New Jersey. Kelly has degrees from the State University of New York Maritime College and the University of Tennessee, Knoxville.
The year-long mission is scheduled to be launched in the spring of 2015. The pair will launch aboard a Russian Soyuz spacecraft from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.
After one year in space, where they will collect scientific data pertinent to future human exploration of the solar system, the two veteran space travelers will return to Earth in spring 2016.
According to the November 26, 2012 NASA article NASA, Roscosmos assign veteran crew to year-long space station mission the "The goal of their yearlong expedition aboard the orbiting laboratory is to understand better how the human body reacts and adapts to the harsh environment of space."
And, "Data from the 12-month expedition will help inform current assessments of crew performance and health and will determine better and validate countermeasures to reduce the risks associated with future exploration as NASA plans for missions around the moon, an asteroid and ultimately Mars."
William Gerstenmaier, the associate administrator for Human Exploration and Operations at NASA headquarters made the following statement about the two space travelers and their mission into space: "Congratulations to Scott and Mikhail on their selection for this important mission. Their skills and previous experience aboard the space station align with the mission's requirements."
Gerstenmaier added, "The one-year increment will expand the bounds of how we live and work in space and will increase our knowledge regarding the effects of microgravity on humans as we prepare for future missions beyond low-Earth orbit."
The head of Roscosmos, Vladimir Popovkin, stated, "Selection of the candidate for the one year mission was thorough and difficult due to the number of suitable candidates from the Cosmonaut corps."
Popuvkin added, "We have chosen the most responsible, skilled and enthusiastic crew members to expand space exploration, and we have full confidence in them."