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MOSCOW, March 6. /TASS/. Russian cosmonaut Mikhail Korniyenko, who several days earlier returned from the International Space Station (ISS) after a year-long mission, says is already missing the U.S. astronaut Scott Kelly.
"After the landing, we did not manage to talk," he said in the first interview back on Earth. "The last time we saw each other was in Dzhezkazgan, where the official meeting was. There we hugged, and Scott took a NASA plane for Huston, and we headed for Zvezdny Gorodok (cosmonaut base)."
"But I can say our friendship got only better!. Scott is a very good personality and specialist. Over that year we did not face any conflicts, nor did we have a wish for a break from each other. Right on the contrary, I am looking forward to his coming here to Zvezdny Gorodok in 20 days to take part in the official meeting ceremony, and I am missing him already."
They returned to the Earth on March 2, 2016.
Mikhail Korniyenko and Scott Kelly embarked on their space mission to the ISS on March 27, 2015. They were launched into orbit from the Baikonur Cosmodrome (Kazakhstan) on board the Soyuz TMA-16M spaceship. The astronauts lived in space continuously for 340 days. They returned to Earth together with the third crew member - Russian cosmonaut Sergei Volkov who had a 182-day expedition to the orbiting outpost. They landed on the Soyuz TMA-18M spacecraft.
For the United States it was the first long-term space mission experience, while Soviet and Russian cosmonauts had been on year-long orbital missions. Thus, in 1988 Vladimir Titov and Musa Manarov spent 365 days on Russia’s Mir orbital station, and in 1995 Valery Polyakov spent 437 days in orbit, setting a world record for the longest space flight.
After Kelly, Korniyenko and Volkov return to Earth, the ISS mission is continued by the crew comprising Russia’s Yuri Malenchenko, NASA astronaut Timothy Kopra and Timothy Peake of the UK. On March 19, NASA astronaut Jeff Williams and Russian cosmonauts Oleg Skripochka and Alexei Ovchinin will launch aboard the Soyuz TMA-20M spacecraft and join Expedition 47.