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Beyond A Year In Space

Airs Wednesday, Nov. 15, 2017 at 9 p.m. & Sunday, Nov. 19 at 3 p.m. on KPBS

Scott Kelly returns to earth after a year in space.

Credit: Courtesy of PBS

Above: Scott Kelly returns to earth after a year in space.

Scott Kelly Adjusts to Life on Earth After Record-Breaking Mission, as the Next Generation of Astronauts Prepares for Deep Space Travel—

“Beyond A Year In Space,” the follow up to Emmy® Award-winning film “A Year In Space,” chronicles astronaut Scott Kelly’s return and adjustment to life on Earth after spending 12 months on the International Space Station (ISS), the longest space mission in American history.

Exploring the effects of long-term space travel on the human body, the film also introduces the next generation of astronauts currently training to leave Earth’s orbit and travel into deep space.

"Beyond A Year In Space," which picks up the story with Scott Kelly’s last day in space and return to Earth, premieres Wednesday, Nov. 15, 2017 on PBS.

Beyond A Year In Space: Official Trailer

"Beyond A Year In Space" picks up where "A Year In Space" left off: Scott Kelly’s last day in space and return to Earth. The special also introduces viewers to the next generation of astronauts training to leave Earth’s orbit and travel into deep space. Join the conversation #BeyondYearinSpacePBS

It will be preceded by an encore broadcast of "A Year In Space" at 8 p.m. and followed by an encore broadcast of “The Farthest: Voyager In Spaces” at 10 p.m.

The film follows Kelly’s homecoming and long-awaited reunion with his family in Texas after his record-breaking stay in space with Russian cosmonaut Mikhail Kornienko.

The film also tracks the extensive medical testing undergone by Scott and his brother and fellow astronaut, Mark Kelly.

Photo credit: Courtesy of PBS

Scott Kelly undergoes medical tests.

As identical twins, the brothers presented NASA with the extraordinary opportunity of conducting experiments on two individuals who have the same genetic makeup but spent the year in vastly different environments.

The data from the twins study will help NASA determine what it will take for humans to endure long-duration space travel in preparation for a mission to Mars, an unprecedented three-year journey.

The Twin Study

While Scott Kelly spent a year on the International Space Station, his twin brother Mark spent a year on earth. By analyzing the differences between the two men, NASA researchers hope to gain insight into the effects of spaceflight on the human body.

Although Scott maintained a rigorous exercise program in space, the physical toll of the voyage is evident upon his return as he suffers from sore muscles, stiff joints, flu-like symptoms, skin sensitivity and inflammation.

“Gravity definitely gives you a beat down when you get back,” he said. “My feet still bother me some — I didn’t walk on them for a year!”

Meet Astronaut Victor Glover

Before he became an astronaut, Victor Glover was a fighter pilot in the US Navy.

"Beyond A Year In Space" introduces two new astronauts preparing to venture farther than humankind has ever gone: biologist Jessica Meir and former Navy pilot Victor Glover, and provides a behind-the-scenes look at how they are training to go the distance.

Photo credit: Courtesy of PBS

Jessica Meir and Victor Glover.

While first-generation astronauts were mostly “top guns” chosen for their experience in flying untested vehicles, the new generation is a diverse team with a wide variety of backgrounds and skill sets.

Meet Astronaut Jessica Meir

Before she became an astronaut, Jessica Meir was a biological scientist studying how animals live in extreme environments.

The film follows Meir and Glover at NASA and at home, exploring their lives as astronauts and as individuals as each expresses what it means to carry on the legacy of the astronauts who came before them.

Jessica and Victor Visit Kennedy Space Center

Astronauts Jessica Meir and Victor Glover visit Launch Pad 39B, where the space shuttle used to launch, and the Vehicle Assembly Building, the “high holy cathedral of space.”

“When I was backing away from that space station I was reflecting on the fact that we built this space station in low-Earth orbit,” said Kelly. “It’s the size of a football field — a million pounds. I think it’s the hardest thing people have ever done. I feel very strongly that if we can do this, we can do anything. As future explorers, I would say if we decide we want to go to Mars, we can go to Mars.”

The Legacy of the One Year Mission

Astronauts Scott Kelly and Jessica Meir discuss the importance of the Twin Study, which will help scientists understand the effects of being in space for a year.

Featuring TIME’s Jeffrey Kluger, science journalist Miles O’Brien, NASA scientists, engineers and doctors, and a special appearance by Apollo 13 astronaut Jim Lovell, "Beyond A Year In Space" provides historical background on space exploration and connects the experiences of the earliest astronauts on manned space flights to those paving the way for the future of space exploration today.


PBS is on Facebook, Instagram, and you can follow @PBS on Twitter. #BeyondYearinSpacePBS

NASA Astronaut Scott Kelly is on Facebook, Instagram, and you can follow @StationCDRKelly on Twitter.

Captain Mark Kelly is on Facebook, Instagram, and you can follow @ShuttleCDRKelly on Twitter.


This full episode will be available to stream on demand the morning after broadcast for a limited time. Extend your viewing window with KPBS Passport, video streaming for members ($60 yearly) using your computer, smartphone, tablet, Roku, AppleTV, Amazon Fire or Chromecast. Learn how to activate your benefit now.


TIME, owned by Time Inc., created A YEAR IN SPACE in 2015 as a yearlong, 12-part digital video series, produced by TIME’s supervising producer Jonathan Woods and directed by Shaul Schwarz. The episodes can be found on

"Beyond A Year In Space" is produced by TIME’S Red Border Films for PBS in association with Reel Peak Films and Room 608. © 2017 TIME’S Red Border Films and PBS. All Rights Reserved.

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