Astronaut Frank Rubio broke the US record for spending a year in space

Astronaut Frank Rubio broke the US record for spending a year in space

Frank Rubio never set out to break a record, but today on the International Space Station (ISS), he will do just that.

Rubio, a NASA astronaut and member of the space station’s 69th mission, will be the first American to fly the longest mission in US history. At 1:39 pm EDT (1739 GMT) on Monday (11 September), he will pass the 355 days, 3 hours and 45 minutes recorded by NASA astronaut Mark Vande Hei in 2022.

Moving forward, since he is not scheduled to land until September 27, Rubio will soon become the first American, and one of only six people, to spend a year in space, finally returning to Earth after 371 days in Earth orbit.

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“It’s an honor to be able to be considered as one of the people who will spend a year in space,” Rubio said in a recent interview with ABC’s Good Morning America. “And surely this record will be broken again.”

“I think this [duration] it is really important, in the sense that it teaches us that the human body can endure, it can adapt and – as we prepare to push back to the moon and from there, to go forward hopefully to Mars and continue to the solar planet – I think it is very important that we learn how the human body learns to adapt, and how we can improve it with that system to improve our performance as we look further and further from Earth,” he said.

NASA astronaut Frank Rubio and his Soyuz MS-22/23 crew, Roscosmos cosmonauts Sergey Prokopyev and Dmitry Petelin. All three will soon be the first to spend a year in space aboard the International Space Station. (Image credit: NASA)

Rubio embarked on this flight, his first, on September 21, 2022. Boarding the Russian spacecraft Soyuz MS-22, Rubio and his crew – Roscosmos cosmonauts Sergey Prokopyev and Dmitry Petelin – would then return to Earth after six months. space station.

Then on Dec. 14, as Prokopyev and Petelin prepared for space travel, Russian flight controllers received telemetry indicating that the Soyuz MS-22 spacecraft’s external cooling system was losing pressure. Cameras on the station confirmed that the Soyuz was leaking ammonia coolant into space.

It is considered that it is no longer safe to return the crew to Earth, the “rescue” Soyuz, MS-23, was launched on February 23 and Prokopyev, Petelin and Rubio stayed on the station for another six months. Rather than just working on Expedition 67 and the 68 crew, these three also became part of Expedition 69. (Their departure on Soyuz MS-23 would mark the start of Expedition 70).

“Frank thought that when he flew into space, he would be here for six months. And at the level of his work, he found out that it was extended to a year,” said NASA astronaut Warren “Woody” Hoburg, during press time in orbit. conference before his return to Earth after six months on September 3. “His leadership here has been incredible. He’s amazing to work with and Frank just made a huge sacrifice to be away from his family for so long.”

Before Frank Rubio, the longest tenured US record holders: Mark Vande Hei at 355 days; Scott Kelly at 340 days; Christina Koch at 328 days; Peggy Whitson at 289 days; and Drew Morgan in 272 days. (Image credit: NASA)

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