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NASA astronaut Frank Rubio returns to Earth after setting a record of 371 days in space mission

After spending over a year at the International Space Station, Rubio has landed safely back on his home planet along with fellow Russian cosmonauts.

NASA astronaut Frank Rubio returns to Earth after setting a record of 371 days in space mission
Cover Image Source: Frank Rubio in Zhezkazgan, Kazakhstan on September 27, 2023 (Photo by Bill Ingalls\ Getty Images)

Who wouldn't want to take a quick trip to space? That is only slowly becoming a reality for commoners today but for NASA astronaut Frank Rubio, spending more than a year floating in space has been an exhilarating experience for sure. The 47-year-old Rubio has finally made his way back home to Earth after his space mission, which was initially supposed to last for six months only but turned into a 371-day long space excursion.

Image Source: NASA astronaut Frank Rubio is carried to a medical tent shortly after he, and Roscosmos cosmonauts Dmitri Petelin and Sergey Prokopyev landed in their Soyuz MS-23 spacecraft on September 27, 2023 near the town of Zhezkazgan, Kazakhstan. (Photo by Bill Ingalls/NASA via Getty Images)
Image Source: Frank Rubio in Zhezkazgan, Kazakhstan on September 27, 2023. (Photo by Bill Ingalls\ Getty Images)

According to a press release from NASA, Rubio completed the mission alongside Russian cosmonauts Sergey Prokopyev and Dmitri Petelin and the trio landed back on Earth on September 27, 2023. This is a world record for Rubio since he is the first astronaut from the U.S. to spend the longest time aboard the International Space Station. Rubio, Prokopyev and Petelin started their journey from the space station in the Soyuz MS-22 spacecraft on the same day and landed in a remote location in Kazakhstan at 7:17 a.m. EST.

Image Source: NASA astronaut Frank Rubio, Roscosmos cosmonauts Dmitri Petelin and Sergey Prokopyev, on September 27, 2023. The trio are returning to Earth after logging 371 days in space as members of Expeditions 68-69 aboard the International Space Station. For Rubio, his mission is the longest single spaceflight by a U.S. astronaut in history. (Photo by Bill Ingalls/NASA via Getty Images)
Image Source:  Frank Rubio (L), Roscosmos cosmonauts Sergey Prokopyev (C) and Dmitri Petelin in Zhezkazgan, Kazakhstan on September 27, 2023. (Photo by Bill Ingalls\ Getty Images)

The trio underwent immediate medical examinations upon landing and then Rubio was flown back to Houston in a NASA airplane. The original six month-long mission was stretched to over a year after it was discovered that a coolant leak had occurred on Soyuz MS-22 while they were docked at the International Space Station. While residing and working inside the space station, the astronaut and cosmonauts made a total of 157.4 million miles of trip by orbiting the Earth 5,963 times.


 
 
 
 
 
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A post shared by Francisco Rubio (@astro_frankrubio)


 

In an interview with CNN, Rubio, who also happens to be a father of four kids, admitted that if he had been aware of the extension of his mission, he would have probably declined the opportunity to travel to space. "And that’s only because of family things that were going on this past year, and if I had known that I would have had to miss those very important events, I just would have had to say, ‘thank you, but no thank you,'" he told the outlet. He also added that now he is just "looking forward to being outside and enjoying the peace and quiet" after spending a year listening to the constant humming of machines at the space station.


 
 
 
 
 
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A post shared by Francisco Rubio (@astro_frankrubio)


 

As Rubio's body takes time to settle in Earth's atmosphere and gravity, NASA's administrator, Bill Nelson, said a few words about him in the latest press release from NASA. "Frank’s record-breaking time in space is not just a milestone; it’s a major contribution to our understanding of long-duration space missions. Our astronauts make extraordinary sacrifices away from their homes and loved ones to further discovery," he declared. "NASA is immensely grateful for Frank’s dedicated service to our nation and the invaluable scientific contributions he made on the International Space Station. He embodies the true pioneer spirit that will pave the way for future exploration to the Moon, Mars and beyond."

Image Source: Frank Rubio (L) and Roscosmos cosmonaut Dmitri Petelin are seen inside the Soyuz MS-23 spacecraft just minutes after they and Roscosmos cosmonaut Sergey Prokopyev, landed in a remote area near the town of Zhezkazgan, Kazakhstan on September 27, 2023. (Photo by Bill Ingalls/NASA via Getty Images)
Image Source: Frank Rubio (L) and Roscosmos cosmonaut Dmitri Petelin are seen inside the Soyuz MS-23 spacecraft just minutes after they and Roscosmos cosmonaut Sergey Prokopyev, landed in a remote area near the town of Zhezkazgan, Kazakhstan on September 27, 2023. (Photo by Bill Ingalls/NASA via Getty Images)

According to USA Today, Rubio's stay in space was 16 days longer than Mark Van Hei aboard the International Space Station who had previously set a record of 355 days in space. At that time the record for the longest continuous spaceflight by an American was held by Van Hei. Rubio joined NASA in 2017 holding the track record of working as an army doctor and helicopter pilot. He also served in the U.S. Army flying combat missions during his deployments to Bosnia, Afghanistan and Iraq before signing up for the space program. He currently resides in Miami, Florida, with his family.


 
 
 
 
 
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A post shared by Francisco Rubio (@astro_frankrubio)


 

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