COLLEGEVILLE (WJON News) - The astronaut that holds the record for the longest continuous time in space will be at St. John’s University Tuesday.

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Mark Vande Hei, a 1989 graduate of St. John’s University, served on the International Space Station for 355 consecutive days from April 2021, until March 2022.

During that time, he conducted several experiments in plant and physical science, including harvesting peppers grown in space to study the effects of growing food in micro-gravity.

Vande Hei graduated with a degree in physics from St. John’s University in 1989 before earning a master’s degree at Stanford University and teaching at West Point. A colonel in the U.S. Army, he served several tours as a combat engineer.

His time on the space station was intended to last six months but was extended to host a Russian film crew onboard, and then remained on the station with Russian cosmonauts as the war broke out in Ukraine.

Vande Hei will be on campus for several events but will meet the public Tuesday afternoon from 4:00 until 5:00 at the Pellegrene Auditorium in the Peter Engel Science Center. The event is free and open to all.


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