Scott Kelly photographs his last sunrise from the International Space Station before returning to Earth after spending a year in space, on March 1, 2016.
Scott Kelly photographs his last sunrise from the International Space Station before returning to Earth after spending a year in space, on March 1, 2016. Photos: Scott Kelly—NASA; GIF by Mia Tramz for TIME

See an Astronaut's Last Orbital Sunrise After a Year in Space

Mar 01, 2016

It's a new day for American astronaut Scott Kelly. After spending 340 days aboard the International Space Station (ISS), Kelly is returning to Earth, and is celebrating with one last photograph of a sunrise – one of the 5,000 Kelly's witnessed while in orbit.

With the ISS orbiting the Earth every 90 minutes, Kelly was privileged to witness the sun rise and set 32 times a day. "Rise and shine," he said in one last tweet sent from the station Tuesday morning. "My last sunrise from space then I gotta go!"

Kelly, alongside Russian cosmonauts Mikhail Kornienko and Sergei Volkov, are set to come back to Earth Tuesday, in a seven-hour flight aboard a Soyuz spacecraft. Along the way, they will experience a harrowing, high-speed ride that Kelly has compared to “going over Niagara Falls in a barrel—that’s on fire.”

"#Jimena in the Pacific is a massive storm. Makes the moon look puny. #YearInSpace " via Twitter on Aug. 30, 2015.
"#Jimena in the Pacific is a massive storm. Makes the moon look puny. #YearInSpace"—via Twitter on Aug. 30, 2015.Scott Kelly—NASA
"#Jimena in the Pacific is a massive storm. Makes the moon look puny. #YearInSpace " via Twitter on Aug. 30, 2015.
"Day 135. #MilkyWay. You're old, dusty, gassy and warped. But beautiful. Good night from @space_station! #YearInSpace " via Twitter on Aug. 9, 2015.
"I found these interesting waters on the US East Coast. #YearInSpace" via Twitter on April 26, 2015.
"More otherworldly #ColorsOfEarth http://tmblr.co/ZmuJBi21_7twJ #YearInSpace" via Twitter on Feb. 18, 2016.
"#Bahamas #EarthArt Watercolors! #YearInSpace" via Twitter on Jan. 19, 2016.
"#MondayMotivation There's something beautiful over every mountain. #YearInSpace" via Twitter on Aug. 3, 2015.
"#Halloween #EarthArt Ghostly and dark but beautiful too. #YearInSpace" via Twitter on Oct. 31, 2015.
"Saw some big rip currents in #mozambique today. These can be very dangerous. Be careful. #YearInSpace" via Twitter on Nov. 19, 2015.
"Cool frozen lake in #Himalayas! #YearInSpace" via Twitter on Jan. 9, 2016.
"#EarthArt Everyone likes cloud nine. What's wrong with the others? They're all amazing from here. #YearInSpace " via Twitter on Aug. 7, 2015.
"Will be missing these sands too, but looking forward to sandy beaches up close. #EarthArt #Africa #YearInSpace" via Twitter on Feb. 22, 2016.
"#EarthArt Looks like cubism over #USA #YearInSpace" via Twitter on Nov. 18, 2015.
"#ColorsofEarth Snow white. #YearInSpace" via Twitter on Feb. 16, 2016.
"#EarthArt in one pass over the #Australian continent. Picture 2 of 17. #YearInSpace" via Twitter on Oct. 12, 2015.
"#GoodMorning #Aurora! Good to see you again. #YearInSpace" via Twitter on July 13, 2015.
"Nursed the #SpaceFlowers all the way to today and now all that remains are memories. Happy #Valentines Day!" via Twitter on Feb. 14, 2016.
"#EarthArt #SouthAmerica #YearInSpace" via Twitter on Nov. 22, 2015.
"#EarthArt Grainy, veiny but mainly amazing. #YearInSpace" via Twitter on Aug. 17, 2015.
"Color palette of the #Spanish coast is an appealing morning view. #GoodMorning from @Space_Station! #YearInSpace"via Twitter on Sep. 5, 2015.
"#Dubai, #GoodEvening from @Space_Station! You're brilliant as always. #UAE #YearInSpace" via Twitter on Nov. 28, 2015.
"#Athens, #Greece, #GoodMorning from @Space_Station. Wishing you the best. #YearInSpace" via Twitter on July. 12, 2015.
"#EarthArt Our magnificent modern Earth. #YearInSpace" via Twitter on Sep. 6, 2015.
"#ColorsofEarth Red and purple Terra Australis. #YearInSpace" via Twitter on Feb. 16, 2016.
"#Ice #YearInSpace" via Twitter on Feb. 28, 2016.
"Day 282. Soyuz silhouette and #sunset colors of our magnificent #Earth. #GoodNight from @space_station! #YearInSpace" via Twitter on Jan. 3, 2016.
"Day 302. #Blizzard2016 gave us an impressive view below. Stay warm! #GoodNight from @space_station! #YearInSpace" via Twitter on Jan. 23, 2016.
"Take a leap and explore new possibilities! #GoodMorning & Happy #LeapDay from @space_station! #YearInSpace" via Twitter on Feb. 29, 2016.
"Stars and stripes from @Space_Station. Happy #NationalFlagDay! #YearInSpace" via Twitter on Jun. 14, 2015.
"#SpaceWalkSelfie Back on the grid! Great first spacewalk yesterday. Now on to the next one next week. #YearInSpace" via Twitter on Oct. 29, 2015.
"#Jimena in the Pacific is a massive storm. Makes the moon look puny. #YearInSpace"—via Twitter on Aug. 30, 2015.
Scott Kelly—NASA
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TIME will be live-streaming the entire reentry process here, beginning at 4:15 p.m E.T.

TIME has been following the year-long mission of cosmonaut Mikhail Kornienko and American astronaut Scott Kelly, in a video series that can be viewed here. A YEAR IN SPACE, a documentary film by TIME and PBS, premieres Wednesday, March 2 at 8 p.m. E.T. on PBS.

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