Year in space astronaut hangs up his spacesuit, retires

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Expedition 46 Commander Scott Kelly of NASA rests in a chair outside of the Soyuz TMA-18M spacecraft just minutes after he and Russian cosmonauts Mikhail Kornienko and Sergey Volkov of Roscosmos landed in a remote area near the town of Zhezkazgan, Kazakhstan on Wednesday, March 2, 2016 (Kazakh time). Kelly and Kornienko completed an International Space Station record year-long mission to collect valuable data on the effect of long duration weightlessness on the human body that will be used to formulate a human mission to Mars. Volkov returned after spending six months on the station.

WASHINGTON — Less than two weeks after returning to Earth after nearly a year in space, astronaut Scott Kelly is hanging up his spacesuit.

NASA announced Kelly’s retirement Friday, which begins April 1. The 52-year-old Kelly holds the American record for most time in space: 520 days over four missions.

Kelly spent 340 days in orbit on the International Space Station to see how the human body holds up for long periods of time in space. His results are being compared to his twin brother, Mark, who is a retired astronaut.

NASA said Kelly will undergo periodic medical tests as part of that mission.

In a statement, Kelly said his time in space allowed him to reflect on what his next step on Earth would be. No future plans were announced.

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