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US Astronaut to Ride Russian Spacecraft Back to Earth

US Astronaut to Ride Russian Spacecraft Back to Earth

United States astronaut Mark Vande Hei has made it through nearly a year in space.

Now, he faces an unusual situation: At the end of the month, he is going to ride a Russian spacecraft back to Earth as tensions deepen between the countries.

Vande Hei — who recently broke the U.S. single spaceflight record of 340 days — is due to leave the International Space Station (ISS) with two Russians in a Soyuz capsule.

The astronaut will have spent 355 days in space by then, setting a new U.S. record.

The world record of 438 continuous days in space belongs to Russia.

NASA insists Vande Hei’s return plans at the end of the month remain unchanged, even as Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has resulted in canceled launches, broken contracts and a war of words with the Russian Space Agency’s leader

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