U.S. astronaut shares highs and lows of record space trip

NASA astronaut Mark Vande Hei returns to Earth this week after setting a new record for the longest continuous spaceflight by an American.

On March 15, Vande Hei broke the existing record of 340 days set by Scott Kelly in 2016, and when he leaves the International Space Station in the coming days, that record will be extended to 355 days, just 10 days less than a full year.

Ahead of final preparations for departure along with Russian cosmonauts Anton Shkaplerov and Pyotr Dubrov, Vande Hei talked about the highs and lows of his lengthy mission in a video (below) shared on Twitter.

Such as @Astro_Sabot As he prepares to return home, he took the time to share the highs and lows of his nearly a year in space. pic.twitter.com/O5rdSg3MpV

— International Space Station (@Space_Station) March 27, 2022

Undoubtedly similar to potters in jobs that require close collaboration with colleagues, Vande Hei said the highest points during his time aboard the ISS were “the times when I just hung out, usually at mealtimes with my crew members and laugh so hard that we were in tears over a comment someone made.”

As for the lows, the astronaut, who is on board the ISS for the second time after a six-month period ending in 2018, said: “Physically this is a challenging environment to be in. I have a lot of congestion and headaches… moments where you feel very physically uncomfortable. Those are probably the lows, it colors everything you do, it takes a lot more work to stay in the right frame of mind in those situations.”

Vande Hei suffered a setback in August when a medical problem prevented him from participating in a spacewalk. As a result, the task was handed over to another astronaut. While Vande Hei was able to participate in four spacewalks on his first mission four years ago, this time he stayed on the ISS the entire time.

In a recent interview, the astronaut said he planned to “go outside as much as possible” after returning home, adding: “I’ve had a 24-hour job for almost a year now, so I’m looking forward to getting to know you.” outside, whatever the weather.”

While the NASA astronaut now holds the record for the longest continuous space mission by an American, the record for the longest continuous stay in space remains with Russian cosmonaut Valeri Polyakov, who spent 437 days and 18 hours aboard the Mir space station. lived. the 90’s.

NASA will livestream Vande Hei’s return journey this week. Here’s how to watch.

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