NASA Homecoming Astronaut Explains How He Spent a Year on the ISS; “Meditation and Gratitude”

NASA astronaut Mark Vande Hei is ready to return home from the International Space Station (ISS) after spending nearly a year in space. He is due to leave the ISS on March 30 in a Russian spacecraft and land in Kazakhstan after a seven-hour flight. Set to set a record 355 days in space – the longest for an American – Vande Hei has revealed how he managed to stay in space during the said period.

Meditation and gratitude helped me survive, says Vande Hei

Responding during a Q&A session held at the ISS, Vande Hei said, “I had to spend a lot of time, trying to get into the habit of every day. Meditate. It certainly helped me a lot to stay in a kind of good state of mind”. He added: “And as I mentioned earlier, the most important thing was to recognize that I had to stay focused on what I was doing at the moment and also on another thing. Trying to look for things for which being grateful rather than complaining. This goes a long way to making everything you do more palatable.”

On March 30, Vande Hei will break the record for the longest stay in space by an American astronaut surpassing the previous number of 523 days. He will be accompanied by two Russian counterparts – Anton Shkaplerov and Pyotr Dubrov in the Soyuz MS-19 capsule.

The return of the American astronaut to the Russian capsule had become a matter of concern in recent days after the Russian space agency Roscosmos severed ties with various space agencies including NASA. Several Western media reports have claimed that Russia may abandon Vande Hei aboard the ISS. However, these rumors were quashed by Roscosmos Director General Dmitry Rogozin, who dismissed the claims calling them “hysterical”.

Watch the astronauts leave the ISS

Astronauts aboard the ISS would bid farewell to the trio during the scheduled hatch closing on March 30 at 9:30 a.m. (IST). The Soyuz capsule would then undock from the space station at 12:51 p.m., followed by deorbit and landing which is scheduled for 4:58 p.m. According to NASA, coverage of the crew’s farewell, undocking and landing will be broadcast live on NASA TV, the agency’s website and the NASA app approximately half an hour before hours. aforementioned.

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