NASA Record-Breaking Astronauts Return to Earth with Russian Cosmonauts

After extending the record for the longest single space mission in history by an American to 355 days, NASA astronaut Mark Vande Hei returned to Earth on Wednesday, March 30, 2022, with two Russian cosmonauts.

Vande Hei departed from the International Space Station (ISS) with Russian cosmonauts Anton Shkaplerov and Pyotr Dubrov at 03.21 EDT (14.21 WIB) and managed to land safely on Earth using a parachute at 07.28 EDT (18.28 WIB) southeast of the city. remote Dzhezkazgan, Kazakhstan, explains NASA.

“Mark’s mission not only broke records, but it also paved the way for future human exploration of the Moon, Mars, and beyond,” said NASA Administrator Bill Nelson.

The extended Vande Hei mission will provide researchers with an opportunity to observe the effects of long-duration space missions on humans as NASA plans to return to the Moon in the Artemis program and prepare for Mars exploration, NASA said.

Vande Hei and the two Russian cosmonauts were launched on a Soyuz MS-18 rocket on April 9, 2021. Vande Hei’s second trip into space of 355 days was the longest single space mission by a United States astronaut, with the previous record being 340 days, NASA says.

Vande Hei shared his excitement just before leaving the ISS. “I’m excited for the opportunity to return to Earth to see my family physically present with my wife, where… I haven’t been around here since January last year. So that would be awesome,” he said in a video broadcast from the ISS, Tuesday.

But the space explorer also acknowledged that his return to Earth was bittersweet as it marked the end of his active astronaut career. “I’m sure I’ll have a lot of conflicting emotions,” he said before the flight to Earth.

“I promised my wife I’m not going to fly into space again, so it’s going to be bittersweet,” he said, adding that “I’m so, so grateful to have this amazing opportunity to come to the space station here with these people. a wonderful person whom I consider a friend for the rest of my life; to serve my country and all of humanity.”

Before Vande Hei’s return to Earth, there was speculation that given the US had condemned Russia’s actions to invade Ukraine and spark a war, Vande Hei might not be flying home in the Soyuz capsule with the cosmonauts. However, it appears that Vande Hei’s planned return, remaining unchanged, has proceeded safely and successfully.