NASA astronaut Mark Vande Hei returned to Earth Wednesday with two Russian cosmonauts after spending a US record 355 days in house.
Vande Hei, 55, and cosmonauts Anton Shkaplerov and Pyotr Dubrov departed the International Space Station early Wednesday and touched down hours later in a distant space in Kazakhstan, NASA officers mentioned.
The trio landed in a Soyuz MS-19 spacecraft amid escalating tensions between the US and Russia over the warfare in Ukraine, however NASA confirmed earlier this month the retired US Army colonel would have the opportunity to hitch a trip again to Earth within the Russian capsule.
“Beautiful out here,” Vande Hei mentioned after being the final one out of the spacecraft.
A crew of NASA medical doctors and staffers have been on the website and deliberate to take Vande Hei to Houston after his 12 months in house. He and Dubrov launched final April, with Shkaplerov becoming a member of them on the ISS in October.
Vande Hei’s 355 days is the longest spaceflight by a US astronaut, eclipsing the earlier mark of 340 set by Mark Kelly in 2013. Dubrov additionally spent 355 days aboard the ISS.
Vande Hei mentioned he prevented the subject of Russia and Ukraine whereas in house with his counterparts even earlier than the Feb. 24 invasion.
“I’m not sure we really want to go there,” he mentioned.
Shkaplerov, for his half, mentioned Tuesday the trio didn’t have any points, Space.com reported.
“People have problems on Earth,” Shkaplerov mentioned whereas formally shifting command of the house station to NASA astronaut Thomas Marshburn. “On orbit we are one crew. I think ISS is a symbol of the friendship and cooperation, like symbol of the future exploration of space.”
Altogether, Vande Hei has spent 523 days in house as a NASA astronaut and traveled greater than 150 million miles in his record-setting jaunt — the equal of 312 journeys to the moon and again. He additionally circled the planet roughly 5,680 instances.
While on the ISS, he centered on scientific analysis, together with on crops and in bodily sciences, NASA mentioned.
“Mark’s mission is not only record-breaking, but also paving the way for future human explorers on the moon, Mars, and beyond,” NASA Administrator Bill Nelson mentioned in an announcement. “NASA and the nation are proud to welcome Mark home and grateful for his incredible contributions throughout his year-long stay on the International Space Station.”
Vande Hei, in the meantime, vowed to “get outside as much as possible” in a video posted from the ISS earlier this month.
“I’ve had an indoor job 24/7 for almost a year,” Vande Hei mentioned. “So I’m looking forward to being outside no matter what kind of weather.”
The all-time record for consecutive days in house belongs to Russian cosmonaut Valery Polyakov, who spent 438 straight days throughout a mission from January 1994 to March 1995.
With Post wires