Skip to main content

Astronaut Scott Kelly says goodbye to the ISS after a year

scot kelly space station goodbye iss
All good things must come to end, even in space. After spending 340 days aboard the International Space Station, American astronaut Scott Kelly and Russian cosmonaut Mikhail Kornienko are ready to complete their record-breaking Year in Space mission. Kelly and Kornienko are scheduled to depart the ISS on March 1 after handing over command of the space station to NASA astronaut Tim Kopra. The duo will return to Earth today on the Soyuz TMA-18M spacecraft along with Soyuz Commander Sergey Volkov.

Kelly and Kornienko’s time in space was notable both for its duration and for the scientific opportunities it offered. Both men were subjected to routine health testing and analysis to study the effects of long-term space travel on the body. Samples were taken before departure, during the mission, and will continue for more than a year after their return to Earth. Kelly also has a twin brother, former astronaut Mark Kelly, who participated in a parallel twin study on Earth. This set of data provides an interesting comparison between Earth and space-based changes on human physiology.

Related Videos

Related: Scott Kelly answered questions on Tumblr, and the result was pretty hilarious

Data collected from the Year in Space study will be used to plan future long-term missions, such as the planned mission to Mars, which will of course require a lengthy journey to the red planet. To combat the effects of zero gravity, astronauts must exercise daily to offset the loss of bone mass (up to 1.5 percent monthly) that occurs in space. They also have to deal with fluid accumulation in the face due to the zero gravity living conditions, as well as exposure to cosmic radiation, which will be present in greater amounts during the mission to Mars.

Kelly and Kornienko’s  journey back home will be televised live on NASA TV with the final farewell and hatch closure scheduled for 4:15 pm ET. Undocking of the Soyuz spacecraft is slated for 7:45 pm with final de-orbit and landing planned for 10:34 pm and 11:27 pm, respectively.

Editors' Recommendations

Watch this cinematic trailer for NASA’s first ISS tourism mission
The International Space Station.

NASA is gearing up for the launch of its first space tourism mission to the International Space Station (ISS).

The Ax-1 mission, organized by Texas-based Axiom Space and using a SpaceX launch vehicle, will lift off from the Kennedy Space Center at 12:05 p.m. ET (9:12 a.m. PT) on Wednesday, April 6.

Read more
NASA delays launch of its first tourism mission to ISS
A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket launching from Cape Canaveral.

NASA has delayed the launch of its first space tourism mission to the International Space Station (ISS).

The Ax-1 mission, organized by Texas-based Axiom Space, was supposed to launch from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida on Sunday, April 3, but the date has been shifted to Wednesday, April 6.

Read more
NASA just days away from historic ISS mission
The view from a spacecraft approaching the ISS.

NASA is just days away from launching its first space tourism mission to the International Space Station (ISS).

Currently targeting Sunday, April 3, for launch from Florida’s Kennedy Space Center, the four-person "private astronaut mission," as NASA describes it, will travel aboard a SpaceX Crew Dragon spacecraft powered to orbit by the company’s workhorse Falcon 9 rocket.

Read more