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US astronaut launching next month may spend year in space

Photo: Mark T. Vande Hei
Photo: Mark T. Vande Hei

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (AP) — NASA may soon chalk up another one-year space mission thanks to an out-of-this-world Russian movie-making deal.

Astronaut Mark Vande Hei learned last week that he'll launch April 9 on a Russian rocket to the International Space Station. He suspected that might happen and had been training just in case.

Vande Hei said Monday he may have to give up his return Soyuz seat in the fall to a Russian movie-making tourist.

If that happens, he'll have to wait for the next Soyuz ride home in spring 2022. Vande Hei says that would suit him just fine.

Danielle Prieur is WMFE's education reporter.