Written By: Jason Maderer
Kimbrough spent six months in orbit during his third NASA mission
After 199 days in space, Georgia Tech graduate Shane Kimbrough is back on Earth. Kimbrough and three of his crewmates splashed into the Gulf of Mexico on Monday night on board a Space-X Dragon capsule.
The international team, officially recognized as NASA’s SpaceX Crew-2, spent more than six months in orbit. The mission set a record for the longest spaceflight by a U.S. crewed spacecraft. The crew traveled 84,653,119 statute miles and completed 3,194 orbits around Earth.
Kimbrough and his fellow astronauts performed science experiments and technology demonstrations during the mission. They also grew green chiles and installed free-flying robotic assistants. Kimbrough performed three spacewalks, bringing his career total to nine.
Shane Kimbrough in the space station's cupola in August (courtesy: NASA)
This was Kimbrough’s third mission to space. He previously flew on the space shuttle in 2008 and on board a Russian Soyuz rocket in 2016. He has now spent 388 days away from Earth. Only three other U.S. astronauts have been in orbit longer.
Kimbrough graduated from Georgia Tech with a master’s degree in operations research in 1998. He grew up in Atlanta and attended Yellow Jacket sporting events as a child. During his last mission in 2016, he brought a flag from the Ramblin’ Wreck to the International Space Station. This time while in space, he threw out the first pitch in a taped ceremony before a Georgia Tech baseball game and carried a Yellow Jackets jersey. In May, a few weeks after the launch, he also talked to Georgia Tech about expectations of the mission and life on the space station, which travels 17,500 miles an hour, or 5 miles per second.