With 387 days and counting abroad of the International Space Station, Scott Kelly is the NASA astronaut with the most time spent in space. Previous record belongs to U.S. astronaut Mike Fincke with 381 days, 15 hours and 11 minutes in zero gravity.
Kelly broke the record Oct. 16, and is expected to shatter another record on Oct. 29 when he would be nominated as the American with the longest spaceflight, beating Michael Lopez-Alegria’s who spent 215 consecutive days in space in 2007.
Seven days ago, Kelly marked his 200th consecutive day in space and is expected to end his mission abroad the ISS on the 342nd day. Kelly currently serves as commander of the ISS Expedition 45 crew.
Kelly is also the only NASA astronaut to stay in space nearly a year on a single mission. Russian cosmonaut Mikhail Kornienko, who reached the ISS on the same day as Kelly, is aiming at a similar goal.
Both men are part in an experiment designed to see what effects microgravity has on the human body. NASA and other space agencies will use the data to prepare deep space missions such as the incoming Mars mission or plans to land humans on asteroids.
“Records are meant to be broken. Look forward to one of my colleagues surpassing [mine] on our Journey to Mars!”
Kelly tweeted Friday from the orbital station.
It is the first time, however, in more than a decade when an American astronaut holds both records. A similar feat was achieved by former NASA astronaut Carl Walz who had 196 consecutive days in a single space mission and a total of 230 days spent in space in 2002.
Although Scott Kelly is the NASA astronaut with the most time spent in space, his milestones are not shattering world records. The first man to spend a whole year in zero gravity was Russian cosmonaut Valery Polyakov who stayed on the Russian space station Mir from January 1994 to March 1995. Polyakov smashed all records with nearly 438 consecutive days spent in space.
Plus Scott Kelly’s recent record of most time spent in space pales in comparison with former Russian cosmonaut Gennady Padalka’ record of most total cumulative time spent in space. Padalka lived and worked 878 days abroad of both Mir and the International Space Station. Padalka now ended his mission but he arrived on the ISS with Kelly and Kornienko earlier this year.
The U.S. astronaut is slated to end his mission on March 3, when he would have spent 522 cumulative days in space.
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