Record-setting space station crew lands after 340-day mission

March 2, 2016 5:33 AM

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Astronaut Scott Kelly and cosmonaut Mikhail Kornienko ended a record-setting 340-day stay in orbit with a fiery Super Tuesday plunge to Earth, settling to a jarring rocket-assisted touchdown on the steppe of Kazakhstan to close out a medical research voyage that may help pave the way for for eventual flights to Mars.

With spacecraft commander Sergey Volkov at the controls, flanked on the left by flight engineer Kornienko and on the right by Kelly, the Soyuz TMA-18M ferry ship undocked from the station’s upper Poisk module at 8:02 p.m. EST (GMT-5) as the two spacecraft sailed 252 miles above eastern Mongolia.

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