US Astronaut Ends Document-Lengthy Spaceflight In Russian Capsule

A NASA astronaut caught a Russian journey again to Earth on Wednesday after a U.S. report 355 days on the Worldwide Area Station, returning with two cosmonauts to a world torn aside by battle.

Mark Vande Hei landed in a Soyuz capsule in Kazakhstan alongside the Russian Area Company’s Pyotr Dubrov, who additionally spent the previous yr in house, and Anton Shkaplerov. Wind blew the capsule onto its aspect following landing, and the trio emerged into the late afternoon solar one after the other.

Vande Hei, the final one out, grinned and waved as he was carried to a reclining chair out within the open Kazakh steppes.

“Beautiful out here,” stated Vande Hei, placing on a face masks and ballcap.

The Soyuz MS-19 spacecraft is seen as it lands in a remote area near the town of Zhezkazgan, Kazakhstan.
The Soyuz MS-19 spacecraft is seen because it lands in a distant space close to the city of Zhezkazgan, Kazakhstan.

Invoice Ingalls/NASA through Getty Photos

Regardless of escalating tensions between the U.S. and Russia over Vladimir Putin’s battle with Ukraine, Vande Hei’s return adopted customary procedures. A small NASA crew of medical doctors and different employees was available for the landing and deliberate to return instantly to Houston with the 55-year-old astronaut.

Even earlier than Russia’s Feb. 24 invasion of Ukraine, Vande Hei stated he was avoiding the topic together with his two Russian crewmates. Regardless of getting alongside “fantastically … I’m not sure we really want to go there,” he stated.

It was the primary style of gravity for Vande Hei and Dubrov since their Soyuz launch on April 9 final yr. Shkaplerov joined them on the orbiting lab in October, escorting a Russian movie crew up for a short keep. To accommodate that go to, Vande Hei and Dubrov doubled the size of their keep.

Earlier than departing the house station, Shkaplerov embraced his fellow astronauts as “my space brothers and space sister.”

“People have problem on Earth. On orbit … we are one crew,” Shkaplerov stated in a stay NASA TV broadcast Tuesday. The house station is an emblem of “friendship and cooperation and … future of exploration of space.”

The battle tensions bubbled over in different areas of house with the suspension of European satellite tv for pc launches on Russian rockets and the Europe-Russia Mars rover caught on Earth for an additional two years.

Expedition 66 crew members (L-R) Mark Vande Hei of NASA, cosmonauts Anton Shkaplerov and Pyotr Dubrov of Roscosmos, are seen inside their Soyuz MS-19 spacecraft after it landed.
Expedition 66 crew members (L-R) Mark Vande Hei of NASA, cosmonauts Anton Shkaplerov and Pyotr Dubrov of Roscosmos, are seen inside their Soyuz MS-19 spacecraft after it landed.

Invoice Ingalls/NASA through Getty Photos

Vande Hei surpassed NASA’s earlier report for the longest single spaceflight by 15 days. Dubrov moved into Russia’s high 5, nicely in need of the 437-day, 17-hour marathon by a cosmonaut-physician aboard the Nineteen Nineties Mir house station that continues to be the world report.

“Broken records mean we’re making progress,” stated NASA’s earlier house endurance champ, retired astronaut Scott Kelly, whose 340-day mission led to 2016.

Like Kelly, Vande Hei underwent medical testing throughout his lengthy keep to additional NASA’s quest to get astronauts again to the moon and on to Mars. He stated each day meditation helped him cope through the mission, twice so long as his first station stint 4 years earlier.

“I’ve had an indoor job 24-7 for almost a year so I am looking forward to being outside no matter what kind of weather,” Vande Hei stated in a current collection of NASA movies. As for meals, he’s wanting ahead to creating a cup of espresso for himself and spouse Julie, and digging into guacamole and chips.

Remaining on board: Three Russians who arrived two weeks in the past and three Individuals and one German, who’ve been aboard since November. Their replacements are due in three weeks through SpaceX. Subsequent week, SpaceX will fly three wealthy businessmen and their ex-astronaut escort to the station for a weeklong go to organized by the non-public Axiom Area.

Elon Musk’s SpaceX started transporting NASA astronauts to the station in 2020, 9 years after the shuttle program ended. Throughout that hole, Russia provided the lone taxi service, with NASA shelling out tens of hundreds of thousands of {dollars} per Soyuz seat. Vande Hei’s journey was a part of a barter trade with Houston-based Axiom.

The Related Press Well being and Science Division receives help from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute’s Division of Science Training. The AP is solely accountable for all content material.


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