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NASA astronaut Mark Vande Hei might spend a yr on the area station, for science

NASA might quickly launch one other one-year area mission because of an uncommon Russian film-making deal. Astronaut Mark Vande Hei discovered final week that he would launch on April 9 on a Russian rocket to the Worldwide Area Station. The previous station resident suspected this might occur and had practiced simply in case. Talking at a press convention Monday from the cosmonaut’s headquarters in Star Metropolis, Vande Hei mentioned he could have to surrender his return Soyuz seat within the fall to a Russian area vacationer focused on filming up there. If that occurs, he and maybe considered one of his two Russian teammates must watch for Soyuz to return residence subsequent – doubtless within the spring of 2022.

    NASA astronaut Mark Vande Hei could spend a year at the space station, for science

NASA has assigned astronaut Mark Vande Hei to an upcoming mission to the Worldwide Area Station as a flight engineer and crew member of Expedition 64/65. Picture Credit score: NASA

“Truthfully, for me it is simply a chance for a brand new life expertise,” he informed reporters. “I’ve by no means been in area for greater than six months or so, so if somebody tells me I’ve to remain in area for a yr, I will discover out what it does. I’m actually enthusiastic about it.

The movie is deliberate by Channel Considered one of Russia and a TV film studio. Tentatively titled “Vyzov”, a problem in English, it goals to focus on Russian area actions and glorify the occupation of cosmonaut, in line with a press launch.

5 years have handed since now retired astronaut Scott Kelly accomplished an American report 340-day area station mission. Astronaut Christina Koch got here near this a yr in the past.

NASA is keen to conduct longer missions to review the human physique’s adaptation to weightlessness, particularly since it’s contemplating expeditions to Mars of at the very least a couple of years. Area station missions sometimes final six months.

Vande Hei was added to the subsequent Soyuz crew – hitting a Russian – as a way to keep an American presence on the area station in case SpaceX’s subsequent astronaut flight suffers a serious delay. SpaceX is concentrating on April 22 on the earliest. Till the non-public firm began offering rides final yr, Russia supplied the one elevator for area station crews after NASA shuttles stopped flying.

Operations on the US facet of the orbiting laboratory could be hampered if no Individuals – solely Russians – had been on board, in line with Vande Hei. It is usually a symbolic query after 20 consecutive years of US astronauts in area, he famous. Astronauts there are actually as a result of go away in April and Could.

The excellent news is that NASA managed to throw its garments up there. In any other case, the retired military colonel would have been caught with a lot bigger outfits meant for another person.

Vande Hei expects to obtain his second COVID-19 vaccine this week. He stays vigilant about carrying masks, even when he and his Russian teammates are working towards area fits.

“It isn’t very snug, but it surely’s the proper factor to do,” he mentioned.

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