They’ve spent 340 days in space, with a sunrise and sunset once every 90 minutes. But on Tuesday night, it will all come to an end.
NASA astronaut Scott Kelly along with Russian cosmonaut Mikhail Kornienko will be heading home, leaving the International Space Station, which has been their home for nearly a year.
The pair have been part of the One-Year Mission, a mission that is studying the affects of long-duration spaceflight, all in an effort to learn how our fragile human bodies will endure low-gravity living as well as other aspects of space travel, such as radiation. The results, NASA scientists hope, will help lead the way to better understanding the physical affects of a mission to Mars.
Kelly is the first American to have spent almost a year in space. But he doesn’t hold the record for longest time spent in space: cosmonaut Valery Polyakov spent 438 days on the Russian space station Mir between January 1994 and March 1995.
What has made this mission unique, however, is that Kelly’s twin brother Mark — a former astronaut — has been taking part in the studies as well. Scientists have been studying Mark’s health during Kelly’s time aboard the ISS. Basically, Mark is the human control subject.
The pair of astronauts close the hatch to their capsule at 4:40 p.m. ET. The capsule will undock at 8:05 p.m. and they will land in Kazakhstan at 11:25 p.m.
NASA TV will air the hatch closure at 4:15 p.m, the undocking at 7:45 and the deorbit burn and landing at 10:15 p.m.
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