Amazing Space Photos from America’s Favorite Astronaut (and Maritime Academy Grad)

NASA Astronaut Scott J. Kelly (Captain, USN, Ret.). Photo credit: NASA
NASA Astronaut Scott J. Kelly (Captain, USN, Ret.). Photo credit: NASA

NASA astronaut Scott Kelly is returning to earth later today after spending an epic year in space aboard the International Space Station.

Now you may not know this but Scott Kelly actually started his career attending the State University of New York’s Maritime College, graduating in 1987 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Electrical Engineering and a United States Coast Guard Third Mate’s license. After graduation, Kelly went on to pursue a career as a naval aviator with the U.S. Navy, eventually retiring from the service in 2012. He was selected by NASA in April 1996 and made his space flight debut in 1999.

On his latest mission, which launched in March 2015, Kelly and Russian cosmonaut Mikhail Kornienko spent a total of 340 days aboard ISS to help understand how the human body reacts and adapts to the harsh environment of space in order to reduce risks to crew members as NASA prepares to advance space travel beyond low Earth orbit.

With Kelly’s return to earth on Tuesday, he will have spent a total of 520 days living in space over four missions, surpassing U.S. astronaut Mike Fincke’s record (382 days) for the most days spent in space by an American.

Throughout the one-year mission, Kelly has also shared a staggering 1,000 photos on social media of earth, outer space and life in general aboard the ISS. Here are some of the highlights from the year:

Check out his entire year on his Twitter and Instagram, or using the hashtag #YearInSpace.

 

#GreatLakes You are a great masterpiece. Good morning from @ISS! #YearInSpace #EarthArt #iss #spacestation #space #art #earth

A photo posted by Scott Kelly (@stationcdrkelly) on

 

From @ISS looks like a serious expansion project on #SpratlyIslands in the #SouthChinaSea. #YearInSpace #space #iss #photo

A photo posted by Scott Kelly (@stationcdrkelly) on

 

#Perth #Australia. Good morning from @ISS. Looking good #DownUnder! #YearInSpace #iss #space #photo

A photo posted by Scott Kelly (@stationcdrkelly) on

 

#Watercolor from space. #YearInSpace #iss #space #photo #earth #ocean #water #blue

A photo posted by Scott Kelly (@stationcdrkelly) on

 

#SaturdayMorning #coffee with my old friend #PlanetEarth. #YearInSpace #saturday #earth #space #iss #photo

A photo posted by Scott Kelly (@stationcdrkelly) on

 

My #bedroom aboard #ISS. All the comforts of #home. Well, most of them. #YearInSpace #space #photo

A photo posted by Scott Kelly (@stationcdrkelly) on

 

#Africa. I wonder what these desert sands look like up close?#YearInSpace #spaceart #earth #space #desert #pod #ISS

A photo posted by Scott Kelly (@stationcdrkelly) on

 

Out of the #blue, good morning from @space_station! #YearInSpace #goodmorning #earth #space #photo

A photo posted by Scott Kelly (@stationcdrkelly) on

 

#Madagascar drains its red mud into the Indian Ocean. #YearInSpace #blue #earth #space #ISS #pod

A photo posted by Scott Kelly (@stationcdrkelly) on

 

The #EasterBunny came to visit! #HappyEaster from #ISS. #YearInSpace #pod #space #easter #holiday #bunny #rabbitsofinstagram

A photo posted by Scott Kelly (@stationcdrkelly) on