The veteran astronaut has just returned to Earth after a record 340 days in Space. He will continue participating in ongoing medical research related to the one-year mission in the ISS.
After spending a year in space aboard the International Space Station, astronaut Scott Kelly will retire from NASA at the end of this month.
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The announcement was made on Friday just few days after the veteran astronaut returned to Earth, but he made it clear that he will continue to participate in ongoing medical research to study the effects of long-duration space flight.
“On April 1, I will retire from NASA. While I am leaving NASA, the journey is not over,” Kelly wrote in his web post. “I recently returned to our planet after traveling some 143,846,525 miles around our globe on a yearlong space mission that aims to push our limits as explorer. Our universe is a big place and we have many millions of miles yet to explore. My departure from NASA is my next step on that journey.”
The 52 year astronaut stayed on space station for record 340 days to see how microgravity conditions affects human body when such a long period of time is spend in space. The results regardless of their nature will help pave the way for NASA’s future missions in deep space.
“This year-in-space mission was a profound challenge for all involved and it gave me a unique perspective and a lot of time to reflect on what my next step should be on our continued journey to help further our capabilities in space and on Earth.” Kelly wrote.
After spending 340 days in space, Kelly holds the record for not only most consecutive days in space but also for the most cumulative time in space, spending a total of 520 in all the missions during his 20 year long career in NASA.
Kelly was selected by NASA in April 1996. He has been into space four times. Kelly’s first assignment was NASA’s Space Shuttle Program in 1999. His second and third space flights were in 2007 and 2010 respectively.
Kelly’s fourth and the longest space mission was started on March 27, 2015 and ended on March 1, 2016. Scott Kelly alongside his fellow crew member orbited the Earth astonishing 5,440 times.
During his latest trip, Kelly shared hundreds of stunning images from space, mostly of Earth when the space station orbited around it. Experiments of growing plants and the first ever bloomed flower in space were also achieved in the mission.
Scott Kelly’s departure means space agency is losing its one of the biggest stars ever and a long time will be required to fill the gap. Nevertheless, Kelly will remain involved in the mix in any other capacity.
“Following my retirement, I will continue to participate in the ongoing research related to NASA’s one-year mission for as long as is necessary,” Kelly said in a statement. “I am looking forward to continue my 30 years of public service in a new role. To continue toward any journey, we must always challenge ourselves to take the next step.”