“In space, Russians and Americans remain friends,” says NASA astronaut

Mark Vande Hei returned to Earth from the International Space Station in a Russian spacecraft in late March.

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He spoke to cosmonauts about the invasion of Ukraine.

NASA astronaut  Mark Vande Hei said that the coexistence between Americans and Russians on the International Space Station  (ISS) was positive despite the tension between the two countries over the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

Mark Vande Hei landed last Wednesday in Kazakhstan in a Russian capsule that returned him to Earth along with Russian cosmonauts Anton Chkaplerov and Piotr Doubrov.

The Russian cosmonauts “were, are and will be very dear friends,” he said. “There was never any concern about my ability to continue working with them,” she told reporters in Texas.

They talked about Ukraine

Vande Hei confirmed that the Russian invasion of Ukraine was a topic of conversation on the station. But the talks were “mainly about how they felt about it, and those are things I’d rather they share themselves,” he said.

Moscow and Washington are partners in the management of the International Space Station  and NASA has assured that cooperation between the two countries continues without obstacles , despite the friction between the two governments.

However, the head of the Russian space agency Dmitri Rogozin has launched inflammatory and threatening messages on Twitter in recent weeks .

Mark Vande Hei said he didn’t watch social media, but learned about the statements from his wife.

The 55-year-old Vande Hei holds the record for consecutive days in space: 355.

The objective of such a long mission was to observe the prolonged effects of the space environment on humans in anticipation of future long-range missions, such as to Mars, for example.

The record for staying in space was held by the Russian Valeri Polyakov who spent 437 days at the Mir station between 1994 and 1995. (AFP)