Mark T. Vande Hei

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Mark Vande Hei
Mark Vande Hei, official portrait.jpg
Born (1966-11-10) November 10, 1966 (age 56)
OccupationISS flight controller
Space career
NASA Astronaut
RankColonel, United States Army
Time in space
523 days 08 hours 59 minutes
Selection2009 NASA Group 20
Total EVAs
Total EVA time
26 hours 42 minutes
MissionsSoyuz MS-06 (Expedition 53/54), Soyuz MS-18/Soyuz MS-19 (Expedition 64/65/66)
Mission insignia
ISS Expedition 53 Patch.png ISS Expedition 54 Patch.svg ISS Expedition 64 Patch.png ISS Expedition 65 Patch.png ISS Expedition 66 Patch.svg
Vande Hei giving a talk at the College of St. Benedict / St. John's University in 2012

Mark Thomas Vande Hei (born November 10, 1966) is a retired United States Army officer and current NASA astronaut[2] who has served as a flight Engineer for Expedition 53, 54, 64, 65, and 66 on the International Space Station.[3][4]

Early life and education[edit]

Vande Hei was born November 10, 1966, in Falls Church, Virginia. He graduated from Benilde-St. Margaret's High School in Saint Louis Park, Minnesota, in 1985. Vande Hei earned a Bachelor of Science degree with a major in Physics from Saint John's University in 1989, and a Master of Science degree in Applied Physics from Stanford University in 1999.[5]

Military career[edit]

Vande Hei was commissioned in the U.S. Army through the ROTC program in 1989 and became a combat engineer, serving in Iraq in Operation Provide Comfort.[5] After earning his master's degree in 1999, he became an assistant professor of physics at the United States Military Academy in West Point. In 2003, he became part of the Army's 1st Space Battalion at Peterson Air Force Base. Vande Hei again served in Iraq, in Operation Iraqi Freedom.[5] He retired in October 2016 at the rank of Colonel.[6]

NASA career[edit]

Vande Hei began working at Johnson Space Center in 2006 as part of the U.S. Army contingent there. He worked as a communications officer (which is a flight controller responsible for communicating with astronauts in space) for the International Space Station. In June 2009, Vande Hei was selected as a member of the NASA Astronaut Group 20 and he completed astronaut candidate training in June 2011.

On June 10, 2014, NASA announced that Vande Hei would serve as an aquanaut aboard the Aquarius underwater laboratory during the NEEMO 18 undersea exploration mission, which began on July 21, 2014, and lasted nine days.[7][8]

Vande Hei, Alexander Misurkin and Nikolai Tikhonov as part of the Soyuz MS-02 backup crew in Star City, Russia

In May 2015, it was announced that he had been assigned to ISS Expedition 51/52 scheduled to launch in March 2017 aboard Soyuz MS-04. He was reassigned in November 2016 to ISS Expedition 53/54 scheduled to launch in 2017 aboard Soyuz MS-06.[9]

Expedition 53/54[edit]

Vande Hei launched to space as part of Expedition 53/54 on Soyuz MS-06 on September 12, 2017. After launch the crew performed the fast rendezvous with the ISS and docked automatically after approximately 6 hours.[10]

On October 5, 2017, Vande Hei performed his first spacewalk, along with Commander Randy Bresnik. The spacewalk replaced the gripping mechanism on Canadarm2, the latching end effector A, or LEE-A. The duration was 6 hours and 55 minutes.[11] On October 10, 2017, they completed the second EVA of the mission. They lubricated the newly installed end effector and replaced cameras, and the duration was 6 hours and 26 minutes.

The expedition ended on February 27, 2018, at 9:31 p.m. EST with Vande Hei's, Bresnik's, and third crew member Joseph M. Acaba's successful landing back on Earth.[3]

Expedition 64/65/66[edit]

Mark arrival during Expedition 64

In March 2021 it was confirmed that Vande Hei would be making a second space flight, as a flight engineer onboard Soyuz MS-18, and be part of ISS Expedition 64/65.[12][13] On April 9, 2021, Vande Hei alongside Roscosmos cosmonauts Oleg Novitskiy and Pyotr Dubrov successfully launched onboard Soyuz MS-18 at 3:42 am EDT.[14]

Mark during Expedition 65 playing Space Olympics

On September 14, 2021, it was announced that Vande Hei and Pyotr Dubrov had their six-month stays on the station extended by another six months.[15] This means Vande Hei would break the record for the longest spaceflight by an American astronaut with 353 days.

Two weeks of technical and weather delays, together with Crew-2 approaching the maximum on-orbit duration of their Crew Dragon craft, forced a highly undesirable “indirect handover”. As such, Crew-2 departed the station on November 7, 2021, whilst Crew-3 launched three days later and arrived safely at the sprawling orbital outpost on November 11, 2021. In this instance, there was no absence of U.S. personnel, since NASA’s Mark Vande Hei was still on ISSS. But had he not been aboard, the indirect handover of USOS operations from Crew-2 to Crew-3 might have left an unwanted gap in U.S. station crewing.[16]

On January 6, 2022, Hei and Dubrov completed 273 days on ISS, surpassing Andrew R. Morgan‘s record of 272 days on-board.[17] Shortly before his return to Earth, he passed 340 days in space, surpassing Scott Kelly as the record holder for the longest American spaceflight.[18]

Astronaut Mark Vande Hei harvests plants grown on petri plates during Expedition 66

He returned to Earth with Soyuz MS-19 on March 30, 2022, having spent a total of 355 days in space on a mission to better observe the effects of long-duration spaceflight on humans.[19][20]

Mark on Soyuz MS-19 Landing


On March 10, 2022, Dmitry Rogozin posted a video on social media threatening to abandon Vande Hei on the ISS in retaliation against American sanctions on Russia's high tech imports that were placed upon Russia after the Russian invasion of Ukraine.[21][22] He landed as planned on March 30.[19]

Six months after returning from his 355 days in space, Mark returned to his high school, Benilde-St. Margaret's on September 23, 2022. During the 2015-2016 school year, two students from Benilde-St. Margaret's were chosen to give their student ID cards to Vande Hei so he could take the cards to space with him. Mark returned these IDs when at the school.[23] A representative for Minnesota Governor Tim Walz declared September 23, 2022 to be Mark Vande Hei Day in Minnesota. Brian Bruess, the president of the College of Saint Benedict and Saint John's University, also came to congratulate Vande Hei.[24]

Personal life[edit]

He was born in Virginia and raised in New Jersey and Minnesota. He is married to Julie Vande Hei and has two children.[5]


On May 14, 2021, the Interagency Committee approved the composition of the ISS main and alternate crews for the period 2021-2023.[25] Cosmonaut Anton Shkaplerov (commander) and the crew of the film The Challenge: actress Yulia Peresild and director Klim Shipenko, went to the ISS onboard Soyuz MS-19. The drama is a joint project of Roscosmos, Channel One and the Yellow, Black and White studio.[26][27]

The director and actress returned to Earth on October 17, 2021, on Soyuz MS-18, with Commander Oleg Novitskiy. Cosmonaut Pyotr Dubrov and astronaut Mark Vande Hei, who arrived at the ISS on Soyuz MS-18, joined Shkaplerov on the landing of Soyuz MS-19, on March 30, 2022.[28][29]

Movie shot on ISS[edit]

Klim Shipenko shot about 35–40 minutes of film on the ISS, as well as taking on the position of director, operator, art director, and makeup artist. Oleg Novitsky and Pyotr Dubrov will appear in the film,[30] with Dubrov and Mark Vande Hei assisting in the production.[31]


Public Domain This article incorporates public domain material from websites or documents of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration.

  1. ^ "EVA information for Mark Vande Hei". Retrieved October 8, 2017.
  2. ^ NASA HQ (June 29, 2009). "NASA Selects New Astronauts for Future Space Exploration". NASA. Retrieved June 29, 2009.
  3. ^ a b NASA Television Coverage Set for Next International Space Station Crew Launch
  4. ^ "Touchdown! Three Expedition 54 Crewmates Back on Earth – Space Station". Retrieved February 28, 2018.
  5. ^ a b c d "Astronaut Bio: Mark T. Vande Hei". NASA. April 2021. Retrieved July 20, 2021.
  6. ^ "Army astronaut retires after 27 years of service". U.S. Army. October 7, 2016. Retrieved February 17, 2019.
  7. ^ "NASA Announces Two Upcoming Undersea Missions". NASA. June 10, 2014. Retrieved June 26, 2014.
  8. ^ Bergin, Chris (June 11, 2014). "NEEMO returns with two new underwater missions". NASASpaceflight. Retrieved June 24, 2014.
  9. ^ "NASA Updates 2017 International Space Station Crew Assignments". NASA. November 15, 2016. Retrieved November 22, 2016.
  10. ^ Deland, Dave (September 13, 2017). "Vande Hei '89 reaches orbit as first Johnnie astronaut". College of St. Benedict / St. John's University. Retrieved September 27, 2017.
  11. ^ Harwood, William. "Aging robot arm gets spacewalk surgery". cbsnews. Retrieved October 5, 2017.
  12. ^ Scierholz, Stephanie; Sumner, Megan; Ballarte, Chelsea (March 9, 2021). "NASA Assigns Astronaut Mark Vande Hei to International Space Station Crew". NASA. Retrieved April 9, 2021.
  13. ^ Garcia, Mike (April 8, 2021). "NASA TV Broadcasts Friday Launch to Station on Soyuz Crew Ship". NASA. Retrieved April 9, 2021.
  14. ^ Garcia, Mike (April 9, 2021). "Station Crew Blasts Off on Short Ride to Station". NASA. Retrieved April 9, 2021.
  15. ^ "NASA astronaut to stay on ISS for nearly a year". September 14, 2021. Retrieved September 26, 2021.
  16. ^ "Rubio Primed for Integrated Crew Ops, Cristoforetti, Prokopyev to Command Expedition 68a/b - AmericaSpace". August 23, 2022. Retrieved September 23, 2022.
  17. ^ NASA (January 6, 2022). "Biology and Agriculture Research on Space Station As Astronaut Begins Record-Breaking Spree". SciTechDaily. Retrieved January 7, 2022.
  18. ^ "Mark Vande Hei's Contributions to Human Research Studies". March 14, 2022.
  19. ^ a b Davenport, Christian (March 30, 2022). "NASA astronaut Mark Vande Hei, Russian cosmonauts return safely to Earth". Washington Post. ISSN 0190-8286. Retrieved March 30, 2022.
  20. ^ "NASA Astronaut to Discuss American Space Record in News Conference".
  21. ^ "Russia threatens to abandon American astronaut in space as sanctions threaten peace aboard ISS". March 10, 2022.
  22. ^ "Twin Cities astronaut facing threats from Russian Space Agency". KARE (TV). March 11, 2022. Archived from the original on March 11, 2022. Retrieved March 30, 2022.
  23. ^ "Benilde-St. Margaret's welcomes back NASA astronaut Mark Vande Hei for homecoming". Star Tribune.
  24. ^ "Astronaut Mark Vande Hei Honored by BSM Community". Benilde-St. Margaret's. September 23, 2022. Retrieved November 20, 2022.
  25. ^ "Космонавты готовятся к очередной экспедиции на МКС". Новости (in Russian). Yuri Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Center. May 25, 2021. Archived from the original on March 30, 2022. Retrieved May 25, 2021.
  26. ^ "Актриса и режиссер фильма «Вызов» полетят к МКС 5 октября" (in Russian). ТАСС. April 29, 2021. Retrieved April 30, 2021.
  27. ^ "Экспедиция МКС-65/66. План полёта". Русский космос (in Russian). April 2021. p. 17.
  28. ^ "Срок полета двух членов экипажа «Союза МС-18» увеличат". ТАСС (in Russian). March 14, 2021. Retrieved April 23, 2021.
  29. ^ "На МКС 10 человек". Роскосмос (in Russian). April 9, 2021. Retrieved April 30, 2021.
  30. ^ "Создатели научно-просветительского проекта «Вызов» раскрыли некоторые секреты фильма" (in Russian). July 31, 2021. Retrieved August 7, 2021.
  31. ^ "Russia to switch to year-long expeditions to orbital outpost, says Roscosmos chief". June 16, 2021. Retrieved July 12, 2021.

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