One-year crew all smiles after safe landing in Kazakhstan
The first two crewmembers to spend a year aboard the International Space Station have safely returned to Earth.
Wednesday morning in Kazakhstan, a Soyuz spacecraft carrying NASA astronaut Scott Kelly and cosmonauts Mikhail Kornienko and Sergey Volkov touched down under an orange-and-white striped parachute. Back in Mission Control Houston, where the local time was 10:26 p.m. Tuesday, flight controllers erupted in cheers as NASA astronaut Scott Kelly was extracted from the capsule. The main purpose of the record-setting, 340-day trip was to learn more about how long-duration spaceflight affects the human body.
A few minutes later, Kelly, Kornienko and Volkov were removed from the capsule. All were in good spirits before being moved to a nearby portable medical tent.
Bill Ingalls / NASA
Expedition 46 crew
The first crew to spend a year in space aboard the International Space Station returned to Earth on March 2, 2016. From left: cosmonauts Mikhail Kornienko and Sergey Volkov; astronaut Scott Kelly.
In the medical tent, Kelly and Kornienko will participate in a series of field tests to see how well their bodies can perform simple physical tasks without assistance. The tests are meant to investigate how difficult it will be for future astronauts to function after landing on Mars, following a long journey in weightlessness.