After landing in Kazakhstan at 11:26 p.m. EST on Tuesday, Kelly is expected to arrive at Ellington Airport near NASA Johnson Space Center in Houston late Wednesday evening. It shouldn’t be. Kelly is an American hero who was part of a mission that offers hope that even in today’s crass, Earthly world, the best in people can still carry the day. Is it time to start spending more money on America’s exploration of space and what we can learn?
“Expanding our envelope and our ability to operate in space is going to take us further from our planet”, Kelly said. Kelly said while he may be getting the credit, it took a team of NASA scientists to get into space and back home.
“Leaving the space station was bitter sweet”, he said.
Kelly was the subject of dozens of experiments while at the International Space Station and those experiments are created to help NASA develop plans for eventual human missions to Mars.
Kelly and Kornienko spent 340 days in space after launching in March 2015 gathering valuable biomedical data on the long duration effects of weightlessness on the human body that will be used to formulate a human mission to Mars.
“I brought you some beer and apple pie – nothing’s more American than that”, Mrs Biden said.
Kelly witnessed 10,944 sunsets and sunrises, and travelled about 144 million miles through space aboard the ISS.
Scott Kelly attributed the success of his year in space to his NASA colleagues, family and friends. Kelly and his identical brother, Mark Kelly – who is a retired fellow astronaut and husband to former U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords – will be examined by NASA doctors.
Kelly acknowledged it was bittersweet leaving the space station – his home since last March, now staffed by three men until the arrival of three more in two weeks.
Kelly, returns home a little bit taller than his brother.
NASA Administrator Charles Bolden, Jill Biden, representing her husband, Vice President Joe Biden, and John Holdren, President Obama’s science adviser, were on hand to welcome Kelly back to the U.S.
“If you go on a journey to Mars and get into deep space, there is several hundred times, maybe 300 times the radiation”, he said.
“Sorry it took us so long”, he joked. A normal increment is about six months that’s a long time – so a year is really really long.