Astronaut Scott Kelly and cosmonauts Mikhail Kornienko and Sergey Volkov are on their way back to Earth after undocking from the International Space Station.
The roughly 249-mile freefall back to Earth inside the Soyuz takes about 45 minutes and the crew are scheduled to land in Kazakhstan.
Mr. Kelly spent 340 days circling the Earth. His time far surpassed the previous American record — 215 days — set by Michael López-Alegría in 2006 and 2007. The international record is nearly 438 days, set by the Russian cosmonaut Valeri Polyakov on the Mir space station in 1994 and 1995.
Spending 340 days in space could affect a person’s vision and bones, but Kelly said last week that physically, he feels pretty good. “I could go for another 100 days or 100 years,” the astronaut said during his last briefing with reporters from orbit.
But the long stay has also been lonely. “The hardest part is being isolated from people on the ground who are important to you,” he said.
After returning to the planet, Kelly will be given intensive medical tests. He was chosen in part because his twin brother Mark is also a decorated astronaut, offering the perfect control group to test the effects of microgravity on the human body during a long-duration space flight.