Astronaut Hits 300 Days in Space, On Way to Break NASA Record

Since launching and anchoring to the orbiting lab on April 9, 2021, NASA astronaut Mark Vande Hei has been in space for 300 days straight. On March 3, he will beat Christina Koch’s 328-day mission, and on March 15, he will beat Scott Kelly’s 340-day quest. On March 30, Vande Hei will come back To earth after 355 days in Earth orbit, a NASA astronaut record.

CAPCOM Vande Hei and Flight Engineer Pyotr Dubrov were both congratulated by Woody Hobaugh of Mission Control in Houston for achieving the 300-day mark today. Vande Hei landed at the station alongside Dubrov and Soyuz Commander Oleg Novitskiy onboard the Soyuz MS-18 crew ship. Novitskiy, along with spaceflight partners Yulia Peresild and Klim Shipenko, returned to Earth on Oct. 17, 2021. Dubrov will stay onboard the station with Vande Hei until the end of March when he will parachute to a landing in Kazakhstan with station Commander Anton Shkaplerov aboard the Soyuz MS-19 crew ship.

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Meanwhile, the Expedition 66 crew continued their space biology and human research duties today inside the International Space Station. The information will be used by scientists to discover how to improve health in space and on Earth.

NASA Flight Engineer Raja Chari and ESA (European Space Agency) Flight Engineer Matthias Maurer met inside the Kibo laboratory module on Wednesday afternoon for a visual function evaluation. Microgravity influences vascular function and tissue remodeling in the eye, according to the study. Kayla Barron, a NASA Flight Engineer, took part in new vision research that looked at how an astronaut interprets motion, orientation, and distance in space.

Using medical imaging equipment, such as optical coherence tomography, Chari examined NASA Flight Engineer Thomas Marshburn’s eyes. In the afternoon, Maurer assisted the duo, although he began his day by setting up virtual reality equipment for a training session in the Columbus laboratory module.

On Thursday, Shkaplerov worked on camera equipment, cargo transfers from the Prichal docking module, and Earth observation hardware setup. During the afternoon, Dubrov and Vande Hei collaborated to install internal wireless equipment in the station’s Russian component.