Godspeed, Scott Kelly.
Ten days after finishing up nearly a year in space, the veteran of four spaceflights announced today that he would retire from NASA on April 1. But he also promised to stay involved in the space effort, even after adding 143.8 million miles to his orbital odometer.
“Our universe is a big place, and we have many millions of miles yet to explore,” he said in a Facebook posting. “My departure from NASA is my next step on that journey. I remain ever committed and dedicated to the service of human exploration and advancement whether in space or on Earth.”
With 540 days in space under his belt, Kelly is almost certain to have surpassed NASA’s lifetime limits for radiation exposure. Scientists acknowledged even before the 52-year-old’s return to Earth on March 1 that his chances of taking on another spaceflight for NASA were virtually nil. But Kelly hasn’t ruled out the idea of flying into space for a commercial venture like SpaceX or Boeing.