UT graduate heads to space Friday

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KNOXVILLE (WATE) – Another University of Tennessee graduate is heading to space Friday, this time for an entire year.

Scott Kelly is a graduate of UT’s Space Institute and is one of nine astronauts with UT ties, including Barry Wilmore who returned to Earth on March 11.

Kelly will be making history because he is scheduled to stay at the international space station for one year, which is twice as long as any U.S. astronaut has stayed before.

Kelly will be making the trip with two Russian cosmonauts. They will join three people who are already at the international space station.Previous story: 2 Russians, 1 American return from 6 months on space station

Kelly was a test pilot in the US Navy when he earned his master’s degree in aviation science as part of UTSI’s collaboration with them. The program allowed pilots to earn class credits for the intense training they were doing. Since the Internet was still coming into widespread use at the time, tapes of classes and lectures would be physically mailed to him. He would then complete his assigned projects and mail them back.

Kelly’s twin brother Mark Kelly will remain on Earth. Scientists will later compare the twins’ bio-data to study what the effects of an extended trip in space might do to a person.

Mark Kelly is also an astronaut and is married to former Arizona Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords.

Scott Kelly will begin a one-year mission at the International Space Station Friday at 3:42 p.m., launching into space with two Russian cosmonauts.More online: NASA One Year Crew

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