The astronaut Russia threatened to leave on the ISS has arrived on Earth

NASA astronaut Mark Vande Hei finally reached Earth. His return was in the balance for a few days, after the Russian Space Agency (Roscosmos) threatened to leave him in International Space Station (ISS) as a protest against international sanctions against Russia. Later they admitted that it was all a joke and that they would bring the American with his two cosmonauts in a Soyuz ship MS-19. But even so, there was a lot of waiting until the moment of truth.

NASA Administrator, Bill Nelson, had warned a few days ago that the relationship between astronauts and cosmonauts of the International Space Station remained intact. As well as those of the people responsible for controlling the return trip in Houston and Moscow. And so it was, as the two sides worked as a team to bring three ISS crew members back to Earth.

After saying goodbye to his companions 5:30Spanish Peninsula Time (9:30 p.m. Tuesday in Mexico City), Vande Hei and the Cosmonauts Anton Shkaplerov and Piotr Dubrov embarked on a journey that began with the closing of the Suyoz capsule doors and ended on 13:32 from Spain (05:32 in Mexico City). Around this time, the boat landed on the Baikonur Spaceport, Kazakhstan. Then it took another half hour to get the three astronauts out of the capsule. But the American astronaut’s journey does not end there. After the relevant medical examinations, he will pass the Gulfstream aircraft, NASA, and will travel to the European Astronaut Center located in Cologne, Germany. Once there, he will take another flight, this time to Houston. And this is where this historic journey, marked by a record and a great international conflict, will end.

Russia’s role in the return trip

Without Russia, Vande Hei would not have been able to return to Earth anytime soon. And it is that, for the moment, I only had one Soyuz ship to make the trip, accompanied by his two cosmonaut companions. Moreover, the landing was made in the Baikonur Spaceport (Kazakhstan)which belongs to the Russian space agency.

It is now expected to be able to use capsules such as SpaceX Crew Dragon, with which in fact astronauts have already traveled to the International Space Station before. The NASA astronaut would not have been left there, but the return could have been delayed. Fortunately, this was not the case, because everything happened with the camaraderie that characterized these astronauts at all times on the International Space Station.