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International Space Station’s ‘one year crew’ returns to Earth

FPJ Bureau | Updated on: Friday, May 31, 2019, 05:35 PM IST

From L: Russian cosmonauts Mikhail Kornienko and Sergei Volkov and US astronaut Scott Kelly rest in chairs outside the Soyuz TMA-18M space capsule after they landed in a remote area outside the town of Dzhezkazgan, Kazakhstan, on March 2, 2016. US astronaut Scott Kelly and Russian cosmonaut Mikhail Kornienko returned to Earth on March 2 after spending almost a year in space in a ground-breaking experiment foreshadowing a potential manned mission to Mars. AFP PHOTO / POOL / KIRILL KUDRYAVTSEV |
From L: Russian cosmonauts Mikhail Kornienko and Sergei Volkov and US astronaut Scott Kelly rest in chairs outside the Soyuz TMA-18M space capsule after they landed in a remote area outside the town of Dzhezkazgan, Kazakhstan, on March 2, 2016. US astronaut Scott Kelly and Russian cosmonaut Mikhail Kornienko returned to Earth on March 2 after spending almost a year in space in a ground-breaking experiment foreshadowing a potential manned mission to Mars. AFP PHOTO / POOL / KIRILL KUDRYAVTSEV |
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Dzhezkazgan : US astronaut Scott Kelly and Russian cosmonaut Mikhail Kornienko returned to Earth on Wednesday after spending almost a year in space in a ground-breaking experiment foreshadowing a potential manned mission to Mars, reports AFP.

  The 340-day mission saw Kelly claim the record for the longest single stay in space by a US astronaut, while Kornienko is now fifth on the list for lengthiest mission by a Russian cosmonaut.

 “We have landing,” Russian Mission Control confirmed after the trio touched down southeast of the settlement of Dzhezkazgan in central Kazakhstan at around 0430 GMT.

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After returning from his lengthy stint in space Kelly was clearly in high spirits as he was lowered to the ground by burly Russian rescue workers at the landing site.

“The air out here feels great. I’ve no idea why you guys are so bundled up,” NASA TV reported him as saying as he sat upright in a chair on the steppe in temperatures just below zero degrees Celsius (32 degrees Fahrenheit).

Kelly and Kornienko returned with Russia’s Sergei Volkov, who was stationed at the ISS for over five months and was met upon landing by his father, retired cosmonaut Aleksandr Volkov.

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The “one-year crew” mission — which began on March 27 last year — was the longest by any astronauts aboard the ISS and seen as a vital chance to measure the effects of a prolonged period in space on the human body.

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

“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.”

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Kelly, 52, was also part of an experiment comparing his development and changes in space with his identical twin brother — Mark — back on Earth.

He will now arrive by chartered flight in Houston for a NASA medical examination.           In one particularly eye-catching stunt, Kelly posted a short video of himself dressed up in a gorilla suit and floating through the ISS in pursuit of a colleague.

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Published on: Thursday, March 03, 2016, 01:24 AM IST