A NASA astronaut has spent 335 days in orbit. It has not been enough to beat the historical record

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Mark Vande Hei arrived at the International Space Station on April 9, 2021. 355 days in low orbit afteron March 30, 2022 Vande Hei will return to Earth with a record under his arm: He is the NASA astronaut who has spent the longest time in space..

The previous record was held by Scott Kelly, who spent 340 days between 2015 and 2016. Vande Hei it’s been 15 more days, so there’s a new record to beat. However, and although it is a more than considerable milestone, the figure is far from that achieved by, until now, the cosmonaut who has spent the most time over our heads.

Record for NASA, yes, but not global

Mark VandeHei

The truth is that the return of Mark Vande Hei has been shrouded in some skepticism. The agency in charge of sending and bringing back the ISS astronauts is Roscosmos (Russia), and the current situation with Russia is, to say the least, complex.

To make matters worse, a few days ago, RIA Novost (Russian Nóvosti Information Agency) published on Telegram a video in which the astronauts could be seen saying goodbye to Mark Vande Hei and leaving to finally see how the Russian segment of the ISS was undocked.

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Dmitry Rogozin, the director of Roscosmos, he wanted to take the iron off the matter and posted a message on his Telegram channel saying that “Roscosmos TV studio showed joking the possibility of Russia withdrawing from the ISS project: the undocking of the Russian segment of the station, without which the American part of the project cannot exist”.

Mark VandeHei

In a subsequent statement issued by Roscosmos (via TASS), the agency said that “American astronaut Mark Vande Hei will travel back home on the Soyuz MS-19 spacecraft together with Russians Anton Shkaplerov and Pyotr Dubrov on March 30. Roscosmos has never let anyone doubt its reliability as a partner.”

NASA, for its part, has also confirmed that the astronaut will return in a Soyuz spacecraft and that the drivers will indeed be Pyotr Dubrov and Anton Shkaplerov. According to NASA, Vande Hei’s contributions “will further knowledge of the human body’s adaptation to long-duration spaceflight as the agency plans future missions to the Moon and Mars.”

In any case, the 355 days that the NASA astronaut has spent in space are not an absolute record. This title is in the hands of the Russian Valery Polyakovwhich stayed on Mir for 438 days in 1994 and 1995. In total, Polyakov has spent 678 days, 16 hours and 32 minutes in space between two missions.

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Mark Vande Hei arrived at the International Space Station on April 9, 2021. 355 days in low orbit afteron March…

Mark Vande Hei arrived at the International Space Station on April 9, 2021. 355 days in low orbit afteron March…

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