Next record-breaking astronaut set to launch as Kelly announces - WAFF-TV: News, Weather and Sports for Huntsville, AL

Next record-breaking astronaut set to launch as Kelly announces retirement

(Source: NASA) (Source: NASA)
(WAFF) -

U.S. Astronaut Scott Kelly hasn't even been home two weeks, and already, another astronaut is poised to break his record.

Next Friday, NASA Astronaut Jeff Williams is set to launch on a Soyuz rocket to the International Space Station on a mission to beat Kelly's 534 cumulative days spent in space.

This will be Williams second expedition to the ISS, but he will see his third when he takes command of the Station in June as part of Expedition 48.

This trip will be his longest - six months.

Before Williams returns in September, he'll work on several HUNDRED biology, biotech, physical and Earth Science experiments from the ISS directed by those at Marshall Space Flight Center's Payload Ops Center.

Launch is set for Friday, March 18 at 4:26 p.m. Central time.

NASA will carry the launch live from Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.

On the heels of the announcement that Williams will soon take the title, Kelly made a big announcement Friday - that he will retire in 3 weeks' time.

He gave hints of that decision last week in a news conference when he said he doubted he would ever fly in space for NASA after his historic run.

Commander Kelly is a naval aviator who spent the last 20 years as an astronaut.

Kelly will still participate in ongoing research related to his one-year mission.

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