NASA astronaut Mark Vande Hei did not shrink back from Ukraine speak with Russian cosmonauts in area

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NASA astronaut Mark Vande Hei didn’t shrink back from discussing Russia’s invasion of Ukraine whereas orbiting the Earth with Russian cosmonauts.

He additionally didn’t fear about social media posts that recommended Russia, which was tasked with bringing Vande Hei house, may go away him stranded on the International Space Station.

“I never perceived those tweets as anything to take seriously,” Vande Hei mentioned. “I just had too much confidence in our cooperation.”

Vande Hei returned to Earth last week after 355 days in space. He spoke publicly for the primary time Tuesday morning throughout a digital information convention.

Vande Hei is again in Houston, working via some new “aches and pains” with every day rehab periods. Astronauts have entry to medical specialists, reconditioning specialists, behavioral well being specialists and others whereas readjusting to Earth’s gravity. Vande Hei mentioned sticking to NASA’s train routine on the area station enabled him to stroll simply eight hours after touchdown.

NASA astronaut Mark Vande Hei is seen outside the Soyuz MS-19 spacecraft after he landed with Russian cosmonauts Anton Shkaplerov and Pyotr Dubrov in a remote area near the town of Zhezkazgan, Kazakhstan on Wednesday, March 30, 2022. Vande Hei and Dubrov are returning to Earth after logging 355 days in space. Photo Credit: NASA/Bill Ingalls

NASA astronaut Mark Vande Hei is seen outdoors the Soyuz MS-19 spacecraft after he landed with Russian cosmonauts Anton Shkaplerov and Pyotr Dubrov in a distant space close to the city of Zhezkazgan, Kazakhstan on Wednesday, March 30, 2022. Vande Hei and Dubrov are returning to Earth after logging 355 days in area. Photo Credit: NASA/Bill Ingalls

NASA/Bill Ingalls, Supervisor/Senior Photographer / (NASA/Bill Ingalls)

“It was certainly wobbly, but eight hours later … I was pretty functional,” Vande Hei mentioned. “I’m still uncomfortable, but humans are very adaptable.”

His time on the area station was full of scientific analysis — some experiments proceed requiring Vande Hei’s consideration again on Earth — visits from a Russian film crew and Japanese billionaire, and new earthly tensions.

On the latter, Vande Hei mentioned he requested the cosmonauts how they felt about Russia invading Ukraine.

“They weren’t very long discussions, but I did ask them how they were feeling and sometimes asked pointed questions,” Vande Hei mentioned. “But our focus really was on our mission together. And speaking specifically about my relationship with my Russian crewmates, they were, are and will continue to be very dear friends of mine. We supported each other throughout everything, and I never had any concerns about my ability to continue working with them.”

In this photo provided by NASA, U.S. astronaut Mark Vande Hei peers at the Earth below from inside the seven-windowed cupola, the International Space Station's window to the world on Feb. 4, 2022. (Kayla Barron/NASA via AP, File)

In this photograph supplied by NASA, U.S. astronaut Mark Vande Hei friends on the Earth beneath from contained in the seven-windowed cupola, the International Space Station’s window to the world on Feb. 4, 2022. (Kayla Barron/NASA by way of AP, File)

Kayla Barron, HOGP / Associated Press

As for the cosmonauts who reached the area station March 18 sporting yellow flight fits with blue accents, Vande Hei mentioned the fits have been chosen as a result of the three cosmonauts had been related to the identical college and people have been the college’s colours. Speculation was rampant on social media that the fits have been some nod of help for Ukraine.

“I think the folks that wore them had no idea that people would perceive that as having anything to do with Ukraine,” Vande Hei mentioned. “I think they were kind of blindsided by it.”

This was Vande Hei’s second journey to the International Space Station, and he described the return as reliving a childhood reminiscence.

“Space station living is so different from being on Earth,” Vande Hei mentioned, “that once you’re on Earth it’s really hard to connect with your experience on the space station. So when I got back there, it felt like I was getting this amazing opportunity to relive childhood memories. Something that seems so distant, but it was there vivid in all details.”

He highlighted psychological well being as one of many largest challenges of being in area. But Vande Hei mentioned he felt higher on this mission as a result of he took time to meditate and targeted on his inside voice.

He seemed for the optimistic as a substitute of specializing in the unfavourable. If he was annoyed in looking for a bag buried behind different issues, Vande Hei would inform himself that he had a cool job. He was, in any case, in search of this bag in area.

Upon returning to Earth, Vande Hei ate one in all his favourite meals, guacamole, within the NASA aircraft that introduced him again to Houston.

And he’s adapting maybe a little bit too rapidly to being again on Earth.

“After being away for so long, I really thought that I was going to carry forth with me this unique perspective of appreciation for all things novel about being on the planet,” Vande Hei mentioned. “But I’m adapting so quickly. I’m a little disappointed with how normal it feels.”

Just 10 extra days in area would have given Vande Hei a full 12 months in microgravity — “it would make the soundbites shorter,” he quipped — however the variety of days was by no means vital to him.

He hopes his 355 days, a file for the longest single spaceflight by an American, will quickly be damaged.

“I want this 355 days to be remembered as the record that got broken,” he mentioned. “I’m really looking forward to the next person doing something longer and us getting farther and farther away and exploring more.”

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