A new video posted Tuesday on the popular YouTube channel SmarterEveryDay gives space fans a quick lesson on the little-known steps involved in launching to, and docking with, the International Space Station.
Viewers get an inside look at the Russian Soyuz space capsule used to launch astronauts to the ISS by NASA astronaut Scott Kelly, who will launch for a nearly year-long stay later this month, and a crash course on orbital mechanics and docking by NASA astronaut Reid Wiseman, who returned from a sixth-month stay in November.
Kelly will embark on NASA’s longest mission in space after launching with the Expedition 43 crew later this month, and take part in a year’s worth of experiments that will help NASA test the effects of long-term spaceflight on the human body, accumulating data necessary to plan a manned mission to Mars.
To gauge the long-term effects of weakened bone, immune system, muscle and vision, NASA will compare Kelly’s physical state with that of his twin brother, NASA astronaut Mark Kelly, on the ground. Both Kellys are retired Navy pilots and previous shuttle commanders.
Mark Kelly and his brother’s year-long crewmate, Russian cosmonaut Gennady Padalka, expect the psychological toll will be the heaviest.
“Imagine if you went to work where your office was and then you had to stay in that place for a year and not go outside, right?” Kelly recently told the Associated Press. “Kind of a challenge.”