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American astronaut Mark Vande Hei back on earth after record mission

Kazakhstan Russia Space Station
Posted at 5:16 AM, Mar 30, 2022
and last updated 2022-03-30 13:32:57-04

NASA astronaut Mark Vande Hei is back on earth after spending nearly a year in space.

Vande Hei and two cosmonauts, Anton Shkaplerov and Pyotr Dubrov spent a record-breaking 355 days in space.

The Russian Soyus MS-19 undocked from the International Space Station early Wednesday morning.

It touched down in Kazakhstan before 8 a.m. ET.

Despite Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, NASA has said that it continues to work with Russian space agency, Roscosmos.

The Russian space agency had previously said that rising tensions and sanctions from the U.S. could “destroy” its partnership with the ISS.

The head of Roscosmos, Dmitry Rogozin had threatened to shut down the engines that keep the ISS in orbit and said it would not intervene if the ISS risked falling back to earth.

Before this mission, cosmonaut Valeri Polyakov held the world record for the longest consecutive time spent in space, with more than 437 days.

Vande Hei has now spent a total of 523 days in space, according to Axios.

This puts him in third place for the most cumulative days spent in space for an American astronaut.