American Astronaut Will Return With Fellow Russian Crew
American astronaut Mark Vande Hei has spent almost a year in space on the International Space Station, and will return soon, in spite of tensions between the USA and Russia.
Vande Hei, who on Tuesday will break the US single spaceflight record of 340 days, is due to leave with two Russians aboard a Soyuz capsule for touchdown in Kazakhstan on 30 March. He will have logged 355 days in space. The world record of 438 days belongs to Russia.
The retired Nasa astronaut Scott Kelly, America’s record-holder until Tuesday, is among those sparring with Rogozin, a longtime ally of Vladimir Putin. Kelly has returned a medal to the Russian embassy in Washington but believes the two sides “can hold it together” in space.
“We need an example set that two countries that historically have not been on the most friendly of terms, can still work somewhere peacefully. And that somewhere is the International Space Station. That’s why we need to fight to keep it,” Kelly said.
Audiences around the world recall a similar scene of tension from the 1984 film 2010: The Year We Make Contact, in which world tensions threatened the mutual cooperation between America and Russia in space:
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