Grandfather set to break space record as he blasts off to the ISS

Jeff Williams

Jeff Williams, a grandfather to three kids, is set to blast off to the International Space Station later today, and during his mission he'll break the record for the most days spent in space by an astronaut.

According to, by the end of his six-month mission he'll have smashed Scott Kelly's record of 520 days in space, which was set only a few weeks ago when he returned to Earth, reaching 534 days cumulatively.

This isn't quite the full story, however, as Williams will only be the record holder for astronauts. The real record holder is Genny Padalka, a cosmonaut, who has spent an astonishing 879 days in space.

And despite him being a grandfather, there's no need to worry about old man Williams' health – he's only 58, and we'd wager that he probably doesn't need a walking stick or have a bad back. Sadly Nasa hasn't yet revealed whether he'll be taking any Werther's Originals with him.

Go Fourth

This will be Williams' fourth trip into space. He first reached orbit in 2000 during a Shuttle mission to resupply the ISS, and returned twice via a Russian Soyuz in 2006 and 2009.

This time around he'll be heading up with Russian cosmonauts Oleg Skriprochka and Alexey Ovchinin, and will be joining Commander Tim Kopra, Yuri Malenchenko, and Britain's Tim Peake.

Lift off is scheduled for 9:26pm GMT/ 4:26pm ET / 1:26pm PT tonight, and will be streamed live on Nasa TV.