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Kelly, Kornienko Land After "Year in Space" Mission Aboard ISS

Marcia S. Smith
Posted: 01-Mar-2016
Updated: 01-Mar-2016 11:37 PM

NASA astronaut Scott Kelly and Russian cosmonaut Mikhail Kornienko returned to Earth tonight (March 1) aboard the Soyuz TMA-18M spacecraft after 340 days in space.  NASA bills the mission as a "Year in Space" even though it is not quite a year.  It sets a record for the longest continuous duration in space for an American astronaut.

Joining Kelly and Kornienko on the ride home was cosmonaut Sergei Volkov, who arrived on the International Space Station in September.

The trio landed on the steppes of Kazahstan at 11:26 pm ET (10:26 am March 2 local time at the landing site).  Kelly will soon board an airplane to fly back to Houston,TX.  NASA TV is scheduled to cover his landing there at about 11:45 pm ET tomorrow (March 2) where he will be met by Second Lady of the United States Dr. Jill Biden, Science Adviser to the President John Holdren, NASA Administrator Charlie Bolden, and his brother, former astronaut Mark Kelly.

The Kelly brothers are identical twins and have been participating in a Twins Study throughout the mission to help scientists investigate the effects of long duration spaceflight mission on the human body in preparation for longer trips to destinations like Mars.

Although this is the longest continuous duration in space for an American, four Russian cosmonauts have spent 365 days or more in space.  The record for total consecutive days in space is held by cosmonaut Valeri Polyakov who spent 438 days aboard the Mir space station in 1994-1995.  Sergei Avdeyev spent 380 days on Mir in 1998-1999.  Vladimir Titov and Musa Manarov spent 365 days together on Mir in 1987-1988.  In all cases, other crews came and went during those missions.

NASA will hold two press conferences at Johnson Space Center on Friday, at 1:00 and 2:00 pm ET respectively, with Mark Kelly and two NASA scientists, Julie Robinson and John Charles, at the first and Scott Kelly at the second.  Both will be broadcast by NASA TV.

NASA astronaut Tim Kopra, European Space Agency (ESA) astronaut Tim Peake (United Kingdom) and Russian cosmonaut Yuri Malenchenko remain aboard the ISS.  A new three-person crew is scheduled for launch on March 18 -- NASA astronaut Jeff Williams and Russian cosmonauts Oleg Skriprochka and Alexey Ovchinin -- restoring the ISS to its usual crew complement of six. 

 


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