After a 340-day record-setting mission at the International Space Station, NASA astronaut and Expedition 46 Commander Scott Kelly along with his Russian counterpart Mikhail Kornienko landed safely in Kazakhstan at 11:26 pm EST by joining Soyuz Commander Sergey Volkov for a ride back to Earth via Soyuz TMA-18M spacecraft.
Before returning to Earth, Kelly declared fellow NASA astronaut Tim Kopra as the next ISS commander.
NASA Administrator Charles Bolden, "Scott Kelly's one-year mission aboard the International Space Station has helped to advance deep space exploration and America's Journey to Mars. He has become the first American astronaut to spend a year in space, and in so doing, helped us take one giant leap toward putting boots on Mars."
Read More: 10 Breathtaking Images From Scott Kelly's #YearInSpace
During the one-year-long mission, the International Space Station crew carried out nearly 400 investigations to advance NASA's mission and benefit all of humanity. According to the US space agency, "Kelly and Kornienko specifically participated in a number of studies to inform NASA's Journey to Mars, including research into how the human body adjusts to weightlessness, isolation, radiation and the stress of long-duration spaceflight."
As the orbital path of the International Space Station covers more than 90% of Earth's population, the crew took advantage of this unique vantage point to monitor and capture images of our planet. Both Kelly and Kornienko together saw the arrival of six resupply spacecraft during their #YearInSpace.
Kelly was involved in the robotic capture of two NASA-contracted cargo flights -- SpaceX's Dragon during the company's sixth commercial resupply mission and Orbital ATK's Cygnus during the company's fourth commercial resupply mission. He also ventured outside the confines of the space station for three spacewalks during his mission.
The International Space Station is a convergence of science, technology and human innovation that enables us to demonstrate new technologies and make research breakthroughs that are not possible on Earth.