NASA astronaut Mark Vande Hei will stay on the International Space Station till March, giving him a record-setting spaceflight.
The mission extension, which was predicted earlier than Vande Hei’s abrupt launch in April, will see the veteran astronaut spend about 353 days residing and dealing on the orbiting laboratory, in line with a tweet the astronaut posted on Tuesday (Sept. 14). That will break the present report for longest single spaceflight by an American astronaut: 340 days, presently held by Scott Kelly.
“Honestly, it’s exciting,” Vande Hei stated in a video clip filmed on the space station.
“I think all astronauts are explorers at heart,” he added. “I’m looking forward to, as a human being, understanding how it feels to do something like this.”
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In the video, Vande Hei explains that he sees the extended stay as an important approach for scientists to start to know how the human physique withstands the lengthy spaceflights that shall be crucial to go to deep-space locations like Mars.
Typically, space station visits final about six and a half months; a spherical journey to Mars would probably take extra like two years, in line with NASA.
“Thank you, Mark, for your dedication to @NASA and research that will prepare humanity for Artemis missions to the moon and later to Mars!” NASA Administrator Bill Nelson wrote in a tweet congratulating the astronaut on his mission extension.
The announcement comes three weeks after NASA delayed a spacewalk resulting from a medical subject, which was later revealed to be a pinched nerve in Vande Hei’s neck. Vande Hei, who was initially scheduled to affix the sortie, was changed by Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency astronaut Akihiko Hoshide; Vande Hei supported the exercise from contained in the space station.
The mission extension is no surprise, nevertheless, as Vande Hei made clear throughout his video remarks. “My family’s been braced for this, I’ve been braced for this, it’s something that we expected,” he stated, noting that he’s meditating each day and talking along with his household nearly each day in order to handle the isolation that comes with long-duration spaceflight.
Related: How NASA booked a last-minute journey to space on a Russian Soyuz
The lengthened stay is feasible due to a brief flight that NASA’s Russian counterpart, Roscosmos, is launching subsequent month. On Oct. 5, a veteran cosmonaut, an actor and a director will climb aboard a Soyuz capsule in order to spend about two weeks on the orbiting laboratory filming a film dubbed “Challenge.” Those two passengers will in impact fill Vande Hei’s seat, in addition to that of his Russian crewmate, Pyotr Dubrov, who will even stay in orbit till March.
The “Challenge” flight has been in the books since earlier than Vande Hei publicly received his seat project. NASA, involved by delays in Boeing’s troubled Starliner crew capsule program, organized so as to add Vande Hei to the Soyuz car that launched in April, saying the flight only a month earlier than launch.
Although the mission extension will see Vande Hei bounce to the lead of NASA’s long-duration flight veterans, the astronaut stated that the report is not about him and he would not count on to relaxation on the laurels it’d convey him.
“I don’t think it’s a record that I would even attribute to me, it’s a record that I would attribute to our space program,” Vande Hei stated. “I expect this record to be broken, and that will be a further success for our space program.”
Email Meghan Bartels at [email protected] or observe her on Twitter @meghanbartels. Follow us on Twitter @Spacedotcom and on Facebook.
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