The American record-holder for most time spent in space, Astronaut Scott Kelly, is retiring from his post at NASA on 1st of April after completing an unprecedented yearlong mission aboard the International Space Station (ISS).
After his retirement, Kelly will continue to participate in the research related to his one-year space mission, which was designed to help pave the way for crewed missions to Mars by shedding light on the ways long-duration spaceflight affects the human body psychologically and physiologically. He flew in space four times, beginning with space shuttle Discovery’s trip to NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope on the STS-103 servicing mission in 1999. On his second mission, STS-118, he crossed the threshold of the International Space Station for the first time as commander of space shuttle Endeavour. He returned to the station for a six-month stay in 2010, commanding Expedition 26. A veteran of spaceflight, Kelly accepted the opportunity to participate in NASA’s unprecedented yearlong space station mission, which aimed to expand the boundaries of space exploration beyond low-Earth orbit through the collection of critical data on how the human body responds to extended space missions. On this mission, Kelly eclipsed two American space records.
“Records are meant to be broken,” Kelly said. “I am looking forward to when these records in space are surpassed.” He added, “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.”
“When the first Americans set foot on Mars, they will be following in the footsteps of one of the finest astronauts in the history of the space program, my friend, Commander Scott Kelly,” said NASA administrator, Charles Bolden.
Humbled and excited by new opportunities, Kelly wants to support and share the amazing work NASA is doing to help us travel farther into the solar system and also paving the way for the next generation of science and technology leaders.