NASA: Welcome Home, Mark Vande Hei!

Record-Setting NASA Astronaut Returns to Earth

NASA astronaut Mark Vande Hei is back on Earth after a NASA record-breaking 355 days in space. 

Vande Hei’s extended mission aboard the International Space Station ended on Wednesday, March 30, after a parachute-assisted landing in Kazakhstan along with Russian cosmonauts Anton Shkaplerov and Pyotr Dubrov. He returned to Houston on March 31. 

Arriving at the orbiting laboratory in April of last year, Vande Hei’s stay in low-Earth orbit exceeded the previously held record by 15 days. During his 355 days aboard the station, Vande Hei experienced: 

  • Approximately 5,680 orbits of Earth
  • Approximately 150,619,530 statute miles traveled (equivalent of approximately 312 round trips to the Moon and back) 
  • Fifteen spacecraft or modules visits to the International Space Station, including three Russian Progress cargo ships, two Northrop Grumman Cygnus cargo craft, three Russian Soyuz, two SpaceX crew Dragons, three SpaceX cargo Dragons, and the two new Russian modules (the Nauka Multipurpose Laboratory Module and the Prichal Node Module) 

“Mark’s mission is not only record-breaking, but also paving the way for future human explorers on the Moon, Mars, and beyond,” said NASA Administrator Bill Nelson. “Our astronauts make incredible sacrifices in the name of science, exploration, and cutting-edge technology development, not least among them time away from loved ones. NASA and the nation are proud to welcome Mark home and grateful for his incredible contributions throughout his year-long stay on the International Space Station.”

More About Vande Hei’s Historic Mission

This Week at NASA

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See What Hubble Found

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Listen to the Sounds of Mars

State of NASA Address – Administrator Nelson delivered the annual State of NASA address this week, offering a preview of our plans to explore the Moon and Mars, address climate change, promote racial and economic equity, and drive economic growth while sustaining U.S. leadership in aviation and aerospace innovation. 

Watch the Address

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Watch the Launch Live

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Learn About the Competition

Final Test for Mega Moon Rocket – Our engineers and technicians are ready to conduct the “wet dress rehearsal” for our upcoming Artemis I mission. The two-day test starts on April 1 when the launch team at Kennedy Space Center arrives at the firing room in the Launch Control Center. Get the latest updates on our Artemis blog, including a list of countdown milestones.

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People Profile

Meet Vanessa Wyche, director of NASA’s Johnson Space Center. 

“Mentorship is very important to me. I’m actively mentoring people today because I know the benefit of having been mentored myself… It’s a calling for me, and I feel it’s important to give back.” 

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Image Spotlight

The Perseverance Mars rover looks back at its wheel tracks on March 17, 2022, the 381st Martian day, or sol, of the mission. 

Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech