NASA Astronaut Scott Kelly Returns from a Historic Year in Space on Station

NASA astronaut and Expedition 46 Commander Scott Kelly and his Russian counterpart Mikhail Kornienko enjoy the cold fresh air back on Earth after their historic 340-day mission aboard the International Space Station. Credits: NASA TV

KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, FL – NASA Astronaut Scott Kelly and his Russian cohort Mikhail Kornienko successful returned to Earth late Tuesday night (March 1), after spending nearly a year in space aboard the space station on a mission to gauge the limits of human endurance in microgravity and blaze a path forward to eventual human expeditions to the Red Planet.

After boarding their Russian Soyuz capsule, Kelly and Kornienko along with the third member of their crew Russian cosmonaut Sergey Volkov safely landed in Kazakhstan at 11:26 p.m. EST (10:26 a.m. March 2 Kazakhstan time).

Kelly notched an American record for longest time in space on a single mission by living and working for 340 days straight aboard the International Space Station (ISS).

Kelly and Kornienko share the history making distinction of comprising the first ever ‘1 Year Crew’ to serve aboard the massive Earth orbiting science research outpost in space.

“Scott Kelly’s one-year mission aboard the International Space Station has helped to advance deep space exploration and America’s Journey to Mars,” said NASA Administrator Charles Bolden.

“Scott has become the first American astronaut to spend a year in space, and in so doing, helped us take one giant leap toward putting boots on Mars.”
Kelly, Kornienko and Volkov touched down southeast of the remote town of Dzhezkazgan inside their Soyuz TMA-18M spacecraft.

Kelly and Kornienko served as human guinea pigs for studying the effects of long term spaceflight in zero gravity on the human body that will aid planning for sending people on years long expeditions to Mars.

NASA’s agency wide goal is to send humans on a ‘Journey to Mars’ during the 2030s and the ‘1 Year Crew’ marked a concrete step toward achieving that goal.

The Soyuz TMA-18M spacecraft is seen as it lands with Expedition 46 Commander Scott Kelly of NASA and Russian cosmonauts Mikhail Kornienko and Sergey Volkov of Roscosmos near the town of Zhezkazgan, Kazakhstan on Wednesday, March 2, 2016 (Kazakh time). Kelly and Kornienko completed an International Space Station record year-long mission to collect valuable data on the effect of long duration weightlessness on the human body that will be used to formulate a human mission to Mars. Volkov returned after spending six months on the station. Photo Credit: (NASA/Bill Ingalls)

During the record-setting One-Year mission, the station crew conducted almost 400 investigations to advance NASA’s mission and benefit all of humanity.

“Kelly and Kornienko specifically participated in a number of studies to inform NASA’s Journey to Mars, including research into how the human body adjusts to weightlessness, isolation, radiation and the stress of long-duration spaceflight. Kelly’s identical twin brother, former NASA astronaut Mark Kelly, participated in parallel twin studies on Earth to help scientists compare the effects of space on the body and mind down to the cellular level,” say NASA officials.

Stay tuned here for Ken’s continuing Earth and planetary science and human spaceflight news.

Ken Kremer

NASA astronaut Scott Kelly and cosmonauts Sergey Volkov and Mikhail Kornienko of the Russian space agency Roscosmos review procedures aboard the International Space Station in September 2015. Credits: NASA

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Learn more about SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket, ULA Atlas rocket, Orbital ATK Cygnus, ISS, Boeing, Space Taxis, Mars rovers, Orion, SLS, Antares, NASA missions and more at Ken’s upcoming outreach events:

Mar 2 & 4: “SpaceX, ULA, SLS, Orion, Commercial crew, Curiosity explores Mars, Pluto and more,” Kennedy Space Center Quality Inn, Titusville, FL, evenings

Ken Kremer

Dr. Ken Kremer is a speaker, research scientist, freelance science journalist (KSC area,FL) and photographer whose articles, space exploration images and Mars mosaics have appeared in magazines, books, websites and calendars including Astronomy Picture of the Day, NBC, FOX, BBC, SPACE.com, Spaceflight Now, Science and the covers of Aviation Week & Space Technology, Spaceflight and the Explorers Club magazines. Ken has presented at numerous educational institutions, civic & religious organizations, museums and astronomy clubs. Ken has reported first hand from the Kennedy Space Center, Cape Canaveral, NASA Wallops, NASA Michoud/Stennis/Langley and on over 80 launches including 8 shuttle launches. He lectures on both Human and Robotic spaceflight - www.kenkremer.com. Follow Ken on Facebook and Twitter

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