A US astronaut and two Russian cosmonauts safely landed in Kazakhstan on Wednesday after leaving the International Space Station aboard the same capsule despite heightened antagonism between Moscow and Washington over the conflict in Ukraine.
The flight — carrying Nasa’s Mark Vande Hei and Russians Anton Shkaplerov and Pyotr Dubrov back to Earth — had been closely watched to determine whether escalating strife had spilled over into longtime cooperation in space between the two former Cold War adversaries.
Russian space agency Roscosmos broadcast footage of the landing from the Kazakh steppe and said a group of technical and medical specialists had been dispatched to help the astronauts out of the capsule.
“The crew is feeling good after landing, according to rescuers,” Roscosmos chief Dmitry Rogozin wrote on Telegram messenger.
Vande Hei, who had completed his second ISS mission, logged a US space-endurance record of 355 consecutive days in orbit, surpassing the previous 340-day record set by astronaut Scott Kelly in 2016, according to Nasa.
 Vande Hei, 55, smiled and waved as rescuers removed him from the capsule and medics checked his vital signs.
“Mark’s mission is not only record-breaking, but also paving the way for future human explorers on the Moon, Mars, and beyond,” Nasa administrator Bill Nelson said in a statement.
 The all-time record for the longest single stay in space was set by Russian cosmonaut Valeri Polyakov, who spent more than 14 months aboard the Mir space station, returning to Earth in 1995.
 It was the first space flight for Dubrov, 40, who was launched to the ISS with Vande Hei last April from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.Shkaplerov, 50, who was ending his rotation as the latest ISS commander, is a veteran of four missions to the orbital outpost.

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