Vande Hei made it into record books on Tuesday, March 15, 2022: He broke the record for the most consecutive days in space by an American explorer.
Vande Hei arrived at the space station on April 9, 2021, and is expected to return home March 30, 2022, after spending 355 days in low-Earth orbit. This duration breaks the previous record, held by NASA astronaut Scott Kelly, by 15 days.
His then-crewmate Thomas Pesquet, who snapped the picture, said: “If you are reading this sitting down, maybe on a sofa or couch, consider that we will not sit down… until we are back on Earth! Of course we don’t need to sit down up here, and I am not complaining at all, but sometimes that wonderful feeling of relaxation – that moment when you change from running around to letting yourself drop into a chair – that moment can be wonderful I am sure you all agree, and we do miss it sometimes! I think Mark did here too and made a makeshift reading table to enjoy a book – absolutely unnecessary in weightlessness but so nice to construct some semblances of normal life every now and again!”
NASA Astronaut Answers Social Media Questions About Record-Breaking Spaceflight (Downloadable video)
Image Credit: ESA/NASA-T. Pesquet