Mark Kelly: Welcome Again to the Planet After Yr in Area, Scott

HOUSTON,Texas — He is residence — again on our planet.

Late final night time right here in Houston, I helped welcome my brother Scott Kelly residence from his yr aboard the Worldwide Area Station.

Together with my spouse Gabby, Scott’s daughters, his girlfriend, our dad, and so many different family members and colleagues, we greeted Scott at Ellington Joint Base Reserve as he stepped off a NASA plane and — lastly — onto American soil.

After 5,440 orbits round our planet, after the solar went up and down 10,944 occasions (the solar rises or units each forty five minutes in area), and after flying over one hundred million miles, Scott’s yr in area is now over.

And he is protected. All issues thought-about, he is feeling nice. He stated the very first thing he needed to do when he will get to his home in Houston is bounce in his swimming pool.

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So how do you get from the Area Station to an airfield in Houston? It’s kind of of a journey. Speak about jet lag.

Late Tuesday, Scott and Russian cosmonauts Mikhail Kornienko and Sergey Volkov boarded the descent module of a Russian Soyuz spacecraft that was docked with the Area Station. The hatch was closed and some hours later, the Soyuz module undocked and commenced its deorbit burn. After which it re-entered our environment surrounded by a fireball, touring at25 occasions the velocity of sound.

Learn Extra: My Twin Brother Scott Simply Blasted Off for a Yr in Area

As soon as safely in our environment, the Soyuz’s foremost parachute deployed, and it continued its fall in the direction of the grassy steppe of Kazakhstan. After the capsule touched down, officers from the Russian army, Russia’s area company Roscosmos, and NASA got here to let Scott, Mikhail, and Sergey out. For the primary time in almost a yr, Scott and fellow one-yr voyager Mikhail breathed recent air and felt the consequences of gravity.

Then, after his first bathe in a yr and a few actual meals, Scott boarded a NASA plane sure for Houston.

After he landed right here, Scott walked off the aircraft — no small feat — and stated a couple of phrases to these of us gathered that I am going to always remember:

This was not "his" mission. Its protected and profitable finish shouldn’t be his achievement.

This was America’s mission, Scott stated.

That is our nation’s achievement.

He is proper.

.@POTUS Thanks, Mr. President. In your help & in your telephone name as I fly house at a decrease altitude tonight!

— Scott Kelly (@StationCDRKelly) March three, 2016

Like Mercury, Gemini, Apollo, Skylab, the area shuttle program, the Hubble Area Telescope and the Mars rovers, this mission has pushed the bounds of what we perceive about area flight. We at the moment are demonstrably nearer to sending American astronauts past low earth orbit. There are a variety of thrilling locations within the universe; a few of them aren’t too distant. This mission brings us nearer to reaching them.

It’s no exaggeration to name it an enormous milestone within the historical past of our nation’s area program — one we should always all have fun.

It was a group effort. An enormous variety of dedicated and passionate individuals — engineers, flight controllers, help personnel, scientists and flight surgeons and lots of, many others — needed to work collectively to help some robust duties: accelerating individuals off the planet, preserving them alive and glad in area, after which safely convey them again. It’s a tremendous factor.


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Whereas Scott’s been in area and I have been right here on Earth, NASA has been learning us to raised perceive the impacts of lengthy-time period spaceflight on people. As a result of we’re similar twins, they’ve had a singular alternative to review how the human physique modifications in area. Scott and I are excited to see what the researchers study and what it means for the way forward for American area exploration.

Throughout NASA’s research of us, I’ve had the straightforward job. Scott had the enjoyable job.

It was a dangerous job, too. Whereas launch and re-entry might look like probably the most harmful elements of spaceflight, NASA’s evaluation of the info exhibits that merely being in area is probably the most harmful a part of any area mission — and that danger accumulates. The extra time you are in area, the extra possible you’re to die.

Learn Extra: Mark Kelly Remembers These Misplaced Aboard Area Shuttle Columbia

Throughout his yr in area, Scott confronted a number of probably deadly dangers: He was possible uncovered to giant dosages of most cancers-inflicting radiation you tackle with out the safety of the environment; he lived with the fixed menace of toxic leaks of ammonia, a fluid used to chill the Area Station; the potential for a catastrophic, quick-shifting hearth; and the hazard of a speedy, virtually immediately deadly depressurization that outcomes from being impacted by a bit of area particles as a small as a pencil eraser.

Scott knew the dangers — and he took them on within the identify of exploration, science, and our nation’s management. He selected to fly anyway. And now we now have the newest achievement in our nation’s area program.

My 1st #flower on #Earth! Given to me in #Khazakstan on touchdown. Reminded of @ISSResearch #SpaceFlower #YearInSpace

— Scott Kelly (@StationCDRKelly) March three, 2016

There shall be others. There have to be.

As I stated from the launchpad earlier than we lifted off for the ultimate flight of Area Shuttle Endeavour in 2011, it’s within the DNA of our nice nation to discover.

We must not ever cease.

We should lead.

We should uncover.

The ultimate factor I need to say is to my brother:

Scott, thanks on your service to our nation. Thanks for serving to us lead and uncover. We’re actually pleased with you. And it is actually good to have you ever again on this unimaginable planet all of us name house.