A Soyuz capsule carrying American astronaut Scott Kelly, his Russian counterpart Mikhail Kornienko, and Russian crew member Sergey Volkov landed back on Earth safely today. The two astronauts returned after spending 340 days aboard the International Space Station. Crew member Volkov spent over five months.

They landed in Kazakhstan at 11:26 pm EST, roughly 10 am India time.

In the video above we can see the three being pulled out of the Soyuz TMA-18M capsule and carried to chairs where they are examined by doctors.

The extended stay of the astronauts, over twice the length of what is considered normal, was part of an effort to study the long terms effects of spaceflight on the human body.

NASA's website, quoting administrator Charles Bolden, says, "Scott Kelly’s one-year mission aboard the International Space Station has helped to advance deep space exploration and America’s Journey to Mars."

"Scott 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."

During the year in space, Kelly and Kornienko participated in a number of studies to advance NASA's Mars mission. The studies included research on how the human body adjusts to weightlessness, isolation, radiation and the stress of long-duration spaceflight, NASA's website reported.

Parallel to the study in space, Kelly’s identical earth-bound twin brother, former NASA astronaut Mark Kelly, was studied as a reference for comparison, "down to the cellular level."

Kelly, who has spent a total of 520 days in space now, spoke n his last interview from the space station of the things he looks forward to back on earth – such as fresh food, and sitting at a table without worrying about his food floating away.


The astronauts will have to acclimatise back for Earth now, since their bodies need to re-adjust to gravity.

The International Space Station tweeted a short video of Kelly's stay in space.