US astronaut returns to Earth with Russian cosmonauts after record-breaking mission

Image Credit: NASA Johnson - Flickr

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A Nasa astronaut caught a Russian ride back to Earth on Wednesday after a US record 355 days at the International Space Station, returning with two cosmonauts to a world torn apart by war.

Mark Vande Hei landed in a Soyuz capsule in Kazakhstan alongside the Russian Space Agency’s Anton Shkaplerov and Pyotr Dubrov, who also spent the past year in space.

Despite escalating tensions between the US and Russia over Vladimir Putin’s war with Ukraine, Vande Hei’s return followed customary procedures. A small Nasa team of doctors and other staff was on hand for the touchdown and planned to return immediately to Houston with the 55-year-old astronaut.