Georgia Tech graduate Shane Kimbrough is back here on Earth following a nearly six-month stay on the International Space Station (ISS). Kimbrough and two Russian cosmonauts undocked from the station 250 miles above the planet early Monday morning. They landed in Kazakhstan 3.5 hours later to officially end a 173-day mission that began on October 19.
Kimbrough served as commander of the ISS for the majority of the stay, joining Tim Kopra as the second Georgia Tech alumnus to hold the position in 2016. Kimbrough received his master’s degree in operations research from the H. Milton Stewart School of Industrial and Systems Engineering in 1998.
Kimbrough and his crewmates traveled 73.2 million miles while in space. That’s 2,768 orbits of the Earth. Kimbrough conducted four spacewalks totaling more than 26 hours. His last one, on March 30, was the sixth of his career.
During the mission, he also captured cargo ships with a robotic arm, grew lettuce and flew a flag from Georgia Tech’s mascot, the Ramblin’ Wreck. He will fly back to Houston later today.
This was Kimbrough’s second trip to space — he flew aboard the space shuttle in 2008. Georgia Tech has 14 astronaut graduates, tied for second among public universities.
Georgia Tech is scheduled to interview Kimbrough later this week and will update this story after the phone call.