Astronaut Frank Rubio sets US record for longest space flight |  CNN

Astronaut Frank Rubio sets US record for longest space flight | CNN


NASA astronaut and Expedition 68 flight engineer Frank Rubio is seen inside the cupola, the International Space Station’s “window on earth,” as the orbiting lab flies 263 miles southeast of England on October 1, in 2022.

Subscribe to CNN’s Wonder Theory science newsletter. Explore the natural world with news on exciting discoveries, scientific advances and more.


Astronaut Frank Rubio has now been in low Earth orbit for over 355 days, breaking the record for the longest space mission by a US astronaut.

Rubio – who has been on the International Space Station since September 2022 – beat the previous record, held by NASA astronaut Mark Vande Hei, at 1:40 pm ET on Monday, according to a spokesperson for the space agency.

Plus, Rubio is on track to reach another milestone in a few weeks. The Russian Soyuz capsule is not expected to return him and his two colleagues – cosmonauts Sergey Prokopyev and Dmitri Petelin – to Earth before September 27.

That means Rubio will have spent at least 371 days in office after his career is over. He is on track to become the first American to spend more than one calendar year in microgravity.

Yet Rubio’s career was not meant to break records.

When Rubio headed to the space station aboard Russia’s Soyuz capsule on September 21, 2022, he and his crew believed they were on a six-month mission. But the spaceship carrying Rubio and his two Russian counterparts leaked air in December. Officials at Roscosmos, Russia’s agency, later deemed the spacecraft unsafe to carry the crew back home.

Instead, the Soyuz MS-22 capsule returned to Earth without a crew on March 28. And Roscosmos launched a replacement spacecraft, MS-23, which docked with the space station on February 25. Rubio’s return date was pushed back to September as Russia was preparing. the next Soyuz vehicle, which will be launched with a new crew of two cosmonauts and a NASA astronaut as early as Friday.

To commemorate Rubio’s feat, he recorded a conversation with Vande Hei on September 5. NASA is expected to release the footage on Tuesday at 11 am ET on its media.

“Rubio’s mission to space includes the most important exploration mission,” NASA administrator Bill Nelson said Monday. report posted on social media.

“As he breaks records as the longest serving @NASA US astronaut in space, he also paves the way for future generations of astronauts,” the statement read. “Your dedication is out of this world, Frank!”


Rubio is shown during a spacewalk tethered to the International Space Station in the starboard truss structure on November 15, 2022.

If all goes to plan, and Rubio leaves on September 27, his stay of 371 days will not be the world record for the longest mission. The late Russian sailor Valeri Polyakov, who spent 437 days orbiting the Russian space station Mir between January 1994 and March 1995, holds that title.

Vande Hei set a new US record for the most consecutive days in space in 2022 after NASA and Roscosmos decided to extend his stay because Russia had sent a two-person crew to the space station to make a movie. Vande Hei’s return was delayed to allow for additional traffic in the rotating laboratory, although he he said at a time when he knew that his mission could be extended before he arrived.

Before Vande Hei, US astronaut Scott Kelly held the record for the longest space flight by an American with his 340-day mission. That mission was a planned extended mission, designed by NASA to study the long-term effects of spacecraft light on the human body.

The Russian cosmonaut also holds the current record for most days spent in space. Gennadi Padalka earned that title, beating another cosmonaut in 2015, by observing a total of 879 days in space on five separate flights.

The US record for most days spent in space is held by Peggy Whitson with 675 days in orbit. Whitson, who retired from the NASA astronaut corps in 2018, added to the record as recently as 2023. He currently serves as a private astronaut for Axiom Space, which currently holds two commercial missions to the station that have allowed paying customers. getting a trip to the orbiting lab alongside a veteran astronaut.

Rubio traveled to the space station aboard a Russian spacecraft as part of a crew exchange agreement between NASA and Roscosmos that was quickly released in the summer of 2022.

NASA officials assigned Rubio to board Soyuz MS-22, while Roscosmos placed cosmonaut Anna Kikina on the SpaceX Crew Dragon mission that launched in October 2022 and returned home on March 11.

Despite the tension between the United States and Russia as the war in Ukraine escalates, NASA has repeatedly said that its cooperation with Roscosmos is important for the continued operation of the space station and the valuable scientific research carried out on board.

At the time of the announcement of the boarding agreement, NASA said in a statement that entering into such an agreement with Russia was important to ensure the “safe operation” of the space station. If either a Russian Soyuz spacecraft or a SpaceX Crew Dragon capsule were to run into issues and be taken out of service, the seat swap agreement would ensure that both US astronauts and Russian cosmonauts would still be able to board the space station.

Roscosmos did not want to rely on the SpaceX capsule to replace the damaged Soyuz MS-22 crew, however, because the MS-23 spacecraft was ready for flight and the coolant leak in the MS-22 vehicle did not indicate on possible issues. and other Soyuz vehicles, officials said.

Joel Montalbano, NASA’s International Station program manager, said during a press conference in July that Roscosmos had investigated the issue and found that it was possible that “external forces” caused the leak, indicating that a piece of orbital debris probably hit the spacecraft.

“The NASA team has looked at it independently from the Russian team and we can’t find anything – based on the information given to us by our Russian colleagues – for anything other than some kind of extraterrestrial energy or debris or something like that,” Montalbano said.

During his time in space, Rubio has seen a number of star players fly around in SpaceX vehicles. Aside from the Axiom-2 crew that visited in May, the SpaceX Crew-6 astronauts have been coming and going since Rubio arrived. And the Crew-7 team – which includes astronauts from NASA, Roscosmos, the Japanese Aerospace Exploration Agency and the European Space Agency – arrived at the station in August.

#Astronaut #Frank #Rubio #sets #record #longest #space #flight #CNN

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *