This morning, NASA astronaut Mark Vande Hei, along with Russia cosmonauts Anton Shkaplerov and Pyotr Dubrov began his journey back to Earth from the International Space Station (ISS). Mr Vande Hei spent a record-breaking 355 days in space, and is now returning with the cosmonauts on board a Russian Soyuz spacecraft, and will land in Kazakhstan later today.
This comes after weeks of tension that arose when a Russian official threatened to abandon Mr Vande Hei in space.
In a terrifying video posted to social media, Dmitry Rogozin, the head of Roscosmos, cast doubt over the astronaut’s safety.
However, Roscosmos later backtracked, assuring NASA that they would uphold their promise and let the astronaut leave on board the Russian spacecraft.
The Soyuz shuttle undocked from the ISS at 8:21 am today, and at 11:30, it will fire its engines, allowing it to reenter the Earth’s atmosphere without burning up.
The spacecraft will make its parachute-assisted landing at 12:28pm southeast of the town of Dzhezkazgan, in Kazakhstan.
However, the war in Ukraine threatens to spill over into space, as Mr Rogozin issued a bizarre veiled threat.
In a tweet, Mr Rogozin shared a picture of Russian cosmonaut Oleg Artemyev with a quote attributed to him.
He quoted Mr Artemyev as saying: “In my childhood and youth I practised SAMBO.
“For me, this is my favourite sport, which has helped me throughout my life.
READ MORE: Russia to be ‘big losers’ after threatening UK project – NASA steps in