The Force Is Strong in the Expedition 45 ISS Crew!
Not only did Scott Kelly get a shout out from President Obama during the State of the Union address three weeks ago for his upcoming one year flight to the International Space Station, he also looks really good in Jedi robes.
Special props to NASA Spaceflight Awareness for this very cool new mission poster for Expedition 45. The poster features Scott Kelly and Mikhail Korniyenko who launch this March on a Russian Soyuz to spend a full year on the orbiting outpost. The poster follows in a line of cooler and cooler spaceflight awareness posters, my favorite before being the one from Expedition 42 featuring The Hitchhikers Guide!
I have assembled a few here for you to enjoy. (I hope they don't run out of pop culture references.) I especially appreciate how the Russian cosmonauts and the Japanese astronaut seem willing to completely play along with the fun. If these posters can get even a tiny bit of the attention on Kelly's mission that Commander Chris Hadfield's David Bowie cover got for his mission, it will be a good day for human spaceflight indeed.
The European's Automated Transfer Vehicle that looks like an X-wing fighter is also a nice touch.
Good luck to Scott on his exciting mission. This will be the longest duration an American has ever spent in space. The current U.S. record is held by Michael López-Alegría who was in space for 215 days (about 7 months three days). Eight Soviet and Russian flights have been longer than that, including four cosmonauts who have spent 365 days or more in space in 1987, 1994 and 1998.
Scott Kelly's twin brother Mark Kelly (who is also a NASA Astronaut and is married to former U.S. Representative from Arizona Gabby Giffords) will be on the ground and will have aged .01 seconds more than his brother by the time Scott gets back. Whatever happens I am just excited that NASA and the Expedition 45 crew are embracing the Force, that Obama said we are going to space to "Stay" and that we will be learning more about how humans deal with long duration space flight- an important milestone on the path to space settlement and Mars, especially to an astrobiologist like me. :)
Updated 4:08 to change "satellite" to "European's Automated Transfer Vehicle" Thanks Robert Pearlman of Collectspace.com who writes even more about the poster!