Update 8:26pm PT: One-year crew members Scott Kelly and Mikhail Kornienko landed in Kazakhstan at 8:26pm PT/11:26pm ET Tuesday/4:36am GMT Wednesday after 340 days on the International Space Station (ISS).
Kelly, Kornienko and flight engineer Sergey Volkov were safely extracted from the Soyuz capsule and allowed to rest for a few minutes (Kelly seemed to soak in the fresh Earth air) before they were taken to a tent for tests to see how well their bodies are functioning after a long stint in space.
NASA TV is replaying the landing – watch it above.
Kelly has returned to Earth today after nearly a full year aboard the ISS, where he celebrated his birthday, ate lettuce grown on in space and shared a lot of photos.
This was Kelly’s fourth time on a space mission, and after breaking the record for the more time spent in space by any American late last year, now has a total of 520 cumulative space days under his belt.
Kelly and Kornienko traveled to the space station for the record-breaking, year-long mission in the hopes of discovering more about the long-term effects of space and space travel on the human mind and body.
Along with parallel tests done on Kelly’s identical twin brother, Mark Kelly, who is a retired astronaut, the results will provide more insights into how the human body adjusts to weightlessness, isolation, radiation and the stress of long-duration spaceflight.
Coming back home
NASA is providing live coverage as the two “year in space” crew, along with cosmonaut Volkov, returned to Earth today in the Soyuz capsule.
NASA’s live broadcast, which you can watch on NASA TV or via YouTube above, began at 4:15pm ET, as the astronauts bid farewell to the ISS and fellow crew members who are remaining onboard.
This was followed immediately by coverage of the hatch closure at 4:40pm ET, as the returning astronauts prepared themselves for the Soyuz’s undocking from the ISS.
NASA’s broadcast picked up again at 7:45pm ET for the undocking, which happened just after 8:05pm ET, and then again later at 10:15pm ET for coverage of the de-orbit burn and landing at Kazakhstan, which took place at 11:26pm ET.
Kelly will return home to Houston tomorrow, and will be welcomed back by Second Lady of the US Dr. Jill Biden, NASA Administrator Charles Bolden, along with Kelly’s twin brother. A full media briefing will be held later this week on Friday, March 4, when Kelly will answer questions about his year in space.