After nearly a year in space, NASA astronaut Mark Vande Hei is back on Earth.
The crew, consisting of Vanda Hei and Russian cosmonauts Pyotr Dubrov and Anton Shkaplerov, touched down in Kazakhstan on Wednesday morning.
- Image 1 of 5
- Image 2 of 5
- Image 3 of 5
- Image 4 of 5
- Image 5 of 5
Spending 355 days in low-Earth orbit, Vande Hei now holds the record for the longest American spaceflight. He beats the previous record, held by retired NASA astronaut Scott Kelly, by 15 days.
Vande Hei arrived at the International Space Station on April 9, 2021. He contributed to dozens of studies on the hundreds executed during his mission during his time there.
Since Vande Hei launched in a Russian Soyuz spacecraft, that is also how he returned home. The re-entry comes about a month into Russia's invasion of Ukraine. The ongoing war has displaced millions and created tensions between the Russian Space program, Roscosmos, and countries it usually partners with on spaceflights.
Doctors, human research personnel, representatives from the astronaut office and some officials from the U.S. Embassy were there on their return.
According to NASA, Vande Hei traveled more than 150 million miles and orbited the Earth 5,800 times during his space stay.