Astronaut Returns to Earth after Being Trapped for Over a Year

Astronaut Returns to Earth after Being Trapped for Over a Year

( – On September 27, after spending over twelve months in space, astronaut Frank Rubio from NASA and two cosmonauts from Russia arrived on Earth. Rubio broke the American space flight duration record.

A mission that should have taken 180 days ended up taking 371 days to complete. NASA’s former single-flight endurance record holder was Mark Vande Hei, but Rubio surpassed the record by almost two weeks. In the 1990s, Russia established a record of 437 days.

Rubio, Dmitri Petelin, and Sergey Prokopyev returned on a Soyuz spacecraft that replaced the original craft. Some space debris may have punctured the radiator on the original Russian spacecraft. Engineers were concerned that the capsule’s passengers and equipment would overheat without cooling, so they brought the vessel back without anybody inside.

It wasn’t until September that a new crew could be launched on the replacement craft. They finally made it in two weeks to pick up their passengers.

Prokopyev reassured ground control that the three of them were in excellent health. They felt upwards of four times the Earth’s gravity when their capsule sped through the air and landed on its side on the arid Kazakh steppes. Rescue teams arrived by helicopter to retrieve the astronauts. After being extracted from the capsule, Rubio said that it felt “good to be home.”

After being questioned about spending a year in space, 47-year-old helicopter pilot and army doctor Rubio stated he would not have preferred to stay so long. His absence from key family events was hard. He found the mental challenge of being in space for so long more difficult than he had anticipated. Since NASA has no current plans for more one-year missions, he may be able to keep this record for some time.

Rubio and Petelin, an engineer in his forties, were making their first trip into space. Prokopyev, a pilot and engineer, is 48 years old and has served two extended tours at the station.

Since launching from Kazakhstan in September 2022, they have traveled 157 million miles and completed almost 6,000 orbits of Earth.

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