CAPE CANAVERAL — NASA astronaut Scott Kelly is already bracing for a one-year mission aboard the International Space Station. He figures it will be as grueling as climbing Mount Everest.
"It's fun when you're done with it, not while you're doing it," Kelly said Wednesday, barely a week after being named to the marathon flight along with Russian cosmonaut Mikhail Kornienko.
The mission, set to begin in 2015, is intended as a medical test for even longer Mars expeditions in the decades ahead.
Kelly, 48, a Navy captain, has two daughters from a previous marriage, ages 9 and 18. The youngest, Charlotte, screamed "awesome" when she learned her father was selected for the one-year mission.
His identical twin, Mark, a retired astronaut, was all for it as was his sister-in-law, former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, who was shot in an assassination attempt in Tucson, Ariz.
Kelly will set a U.S. space endurance record with this mission. No American has spent more than seven months in space at a time. Four Russian cosmonauts have spent at least one uninterrupted year in space.