For many people, space is this mysterious place that is still very misunderstood. And as daunting as that might sound, we continue to send humans up into the great darkness that surrounds our blue planet.

NASA Expedition 50 Commander Robert Shane Kimbrough recently returned to Earth after spending 173 days in space.

PHOTOS | Astronaut Shane Kimbrough

Kimbrough was born in Killeen, Texas and grew up in Smyrna, Georgia. He attended The Lovett School in Atlanta and he earned a Master’s of Science degree from Georgia Tech. He was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant in the U.S. Army and entered the U.S. Army Aviation School in 1989. In late 1990, he was assigned to the 24th Infantry Division in Fort Stewart, GA and was deployed in Southwest Asia and served in Operation Desert Storm.

NASA selected Kimbrough in 2004 and he completed his first space flight in 2008 on STS-126, where he spent almost 16 days on the mission to expand the crew living quarters to accommodate a six-member crew.

Kimbrough is a veteran of two space flights, including Expedition 50 which happened this year. He performed four space walks and has spent a total of 189 days in space.

Good night Earth from @iss – headed back your way tomorrow!

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