NASA astronaut and one-year crew member Scott Kelly announced that he will retire from the agency, effective from 1 April 2016.
Kelly joined the astronaut corps in 1996 and currently holds the American record for most time (520 days) spent in space. Kelly’s 340-day mission eclipsed the previous US record long space flight of 215 days, set by former astronaut Michael Lopez-Alegria aboard the space station in 2007.
Kelly and Russian cosmonaut Mikhail Kornienko returned to Earth in first week of March 2016 after nearly a year on the International Space Station, the longest US space mission on record, intended to pave the way for human travel to Mars.
NASA said that after retiring, Kelly, 52, would still work on ongoing research related to his time in space. He will provide periodic medical samples and support other testing in much the same way that his twin brother, former astronaut Mark Kelly, made himself available for NASA’s Twins Study during his brother’s mission.
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.
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