Saturday, September 30, 2023
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Nasa's record-setting astronaut Frank Rubio returns from year-long mission in space

The 47-year-old astronaut is also the first Salvadoran astronaut to travel to low-Earth orbit

By
Web Desk
Astronaut Frank Rubio being carried by personnel after returning to earth on September 27, 2023, after more than 355 days on the International Space Station. — X/@NASA
Astronaut Frank Rubio being carried by personnel after returning to earth on September 27, 2023, after more than 355 days on the International Space Station. — X/@NASA

Nasa astronaut Frank Rubio recently set a new record for the longest US astronaut's stay in microgravity, becoming the first American to log an entire calendar year in orbit.

His record-breaking mission also marked his first journey to space after being selected for the Nasa astronaut corps in 2017. Rubio is also the first Salvadoran astronaut to travel to low-Earth orbit.

In a recent interview with CNN, Rubio said that if he had known his stay on the space station would be twice as long as originally planned, he “probably would have declined” the assignment before he began training.

“And that’s only because of family things that were going on this past year,” he said. “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.’”

Rubio, who has four children, travelled home to Houston after a journey from the Soyuz spacecraft’s landing site near the town of Dzhezkazgan in Kazakhstan.

Rubio and his crewmates travelled 157.4 million miles (253.3 million kilometres) and completed 5,963 orbits of the Earth, according to Nasa, on a Russian spacecraft as part of a ride-sharing agreement between the US and Russian space agency, Roscosmos.

Rubio broke Nasa's Mark Vande Hei's previous record for the longest space stay by a US astronaut, which stood at 355 days, established in 2022.

The record-holder for the longest stay in space is the late Russian cosmonaut Valeri Polyakov, who spent 437 nonstop days in orbit aboard the Mir space station between January 1994 and March 1995.