NASA confirms U.S. astronaut will return with cosmonauts on Russian spacecraft later this month!
For 355 Days an American Astronaut has been circling the planet aboard the ISS with 2 Russian Cosmonauts. The plan was for Mark Vande Hei to catch a ride back to Earth with his Russian Counterparts on March 30th.
Now after Russia has invaded Ukraine the U.S. is now fearing that Russia will ditch Vande Hei on the ISS.
An edited Russian video posted to twitter showed the two Russian Cosmonauts waving goodbye before disembarking from the ISS along with footage of the American Flag being removed from Soyuz Rocket.
The U.S. officials stated Despite the concerns, NASA said that they are continuing to work with their Russian counterparts and Vande Hei will be on the Soyuz rocket later this month.
"We have on March 30th the return of a Soyuz, a return of Anton, Pyotr, and Mark. And I can tell you for sure Mark is coming home on their Soyuz. We are in communication with our Russian colleagues. There's no fuzz on that," Joel Mantalbano, the program manager for the ISS, said at a NASA press conference on Monday.
"Our Roscosmos colleagues have confirmed that they're ready to bring the whole crew home. All three of them."
Roscosmos also said through Russian-state media that the March 30 return would continue as planned.
"Roscosmos has never let anybody doubt its reliability as a partner," the space agency told TASS.
The two Russians, Pyotr Dubrov and Anton Shkaplerov, will land with Vande Hei in Khazakstan later this month.