A NASA astronaut sets a new endurance record for a single flight in the United States

Astronaut Frank Rubio, who had to spend an extra six months aboard the International Space Station due to a problem on his Russian flight home, set a new endurance record in a single flight in the United States on Monday, breaking a new endurance record. Mark Vande Hey 355 days Off planet.

Rubio and astronauts Sergei Prokopyev and Dmitry Petlin plan to return to Earth aboard a replacement Soyuz ferry ship on September 27 to end a marathon 371-day stay in space, the first flight longer than a full year by an American astronaut.

Prokopyev, Petelin and Rubio launched last September 21 and were planning to return home in March, but their Soyuz MS-22 ferry suffered a massive coolant leak in December, possibly due to a micrometeor impact.

NASA astronaut Frank Rubio (top left), astronaut Dmitry Petlin (top right) and Soyuz MS-22/23 commander Sergei Prokopyev (center) plan to detach from the International Space Station and return to Earth on September 27 to close out the 271 Extended Expedition. Daily Mission – the longest solo flight to date by an American astronaut. / Credit: NASA

After extensive analysis, the Russians concluded that cabin temperatures would likely exceed safety limits during reentry. So they chose to launch an unmanned replacement Soyuz spacecraft in February that carried out a successful robotic rendezvous and docking.

In order to get the Russian crew rotation schedule back on track, Prokopyev, Petilin, and Rubio, a married father of four, had to extend their stay aboard the space station for an additional six months.

“On a personal level, it was very difficult, just because I was missing my family and I knew I was going to miss some pretty big milestones, for my kids in particular,” Rubio said in a previous interview with The Associated Press.

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He added: “Birthdays and anniversaries. My son will go to college this year, and my eldest daughter will finish her first year in college.” “We tried hard to keep in touch with each other… My wife and kids were soldiers, and they handled it very well.

“And how well they handled it made it easier for me to just focus on the work and be content with the hand I was dealt.”

Frank Rubio, shown here floating in the International Space Station's multi-window dome cabin, surpassed fellow astronaut Mark Vande Heij's single-flight record of 355 days on September 11, on track to log more than a full year in space.  / Credit: NASA

Frank Rubio, shown here floating in the International Space Station’s multi-window dome cabin, surpassed fellow astronaut Mark Vande Heij’s single-flight record of 355 days on September 11, on track to log more than a full year in space. / Credit: NASA

On Monday, at 1:40 PM EDT, Rubio’s time aloft surpassed Vande Hei’s previous record of 355 days, 3 hours, and 45 minutes, which was set at the conclusion of the space station mission that began on April 9, 2021. It ended with a landing in Kazakhstan on March 30, 2022. Upon landing on September 27, Rubio will have logged 370 days and 21 hours away from Earth.

“Frank thought when he flew into space that he would be here for six months,” astronaut Woody Hoburg said before returning to Earth after his six-month mission. “And in the middle of his mission, he discovered that it had lasted a year.

“His leadership here has been amazing. He’s been wonderful to work with. And Frank makes a huge sacrifice, being away from his family for so long, and I just want to really appreciate the service he provided us aboard the space station.”

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The late cosmonaut Valery Polyakov holds the world record for the longest single spaceflight, 437 days and 18 hours, which was set aboard the Russian Mir space station in 1994-1995. NASA astronaut Scott Kelly was the first American to record nearly a year in space (340 days), followed by Vande Hei (355 days), Christina Koch (329 days), and now Rubio (371 days).

Rubio, Prokopyev and Petylin will be replaced by a new Soyuz crew — Oleg Kononenko, Nikolai Chub and NASA astronaut Loral O’Hara — scheduled to launch on Friday from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.

Kononenko and Chubb also plan to spend a full year on board the station. Next March, another Soyuz spacecraft will launch carrying veteran commander Oleg Novitsky, NASA’s Tracy Dyson, and Belarusian researcher Marina Vasilevskaya.

Novitsky, Vasilevskaya and O’Hara will return to Earth about 10 days later. Kononenko, Chubb and Dyson will remain in orbit until next September. At the conclusion of this year-long mission, Kononenko will have logged more than 1,000 days in space – another record – over five flights.

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