Please ensure Javascript is enabled for purposes of website accessibility
Three Astronauts Return to Earth After a Year in Space. NASA's Frank Rubio Sets US Space Record
gvw_ap_news
By Associated Press
Published 7 months ago on
September 27, 2023

Share

A NASA astronaut and two Russian cosmonauts returned to Earth on Wednesday after being stuck in space for just over a year. American Frank Rubio set a record for the longest U.S. spaceflight — a result of the extended stay.

The Landing

The trio landed in a remote area of Kazakhstan, descending in a Soyuz capsule that was rushed up as a replacement after their original ride was hit by space junk and lost all its coolant while docked to the International Space Station.

What should have been a 180-day mission turned into a 371-day stay. Rubio spent more than two weeks longer in space than Mark Vande Hei, who held NASA’s previous endurance record for a single spaceflight.

Russia holds the world record of 437 days, set in the mid-1990s.

The Replacement Capsule

The Soyuz capsule that brought Rubio and cosmonauts Sergey Prokopyev and Dmitri Petelin back was a replacement launched in February. Russian engineers suspect a piece of space junk pierced the radiator of their original capsule late last year, midway through what should have been a six-month mission. Engineers worried that without cooling, the capsule’s electronics and any occupants could overheat to dangerous levels, so the craft returned empty.

There wasn’t another Soyuz to launch a fresh crew until this month. Their replacements finally arrived nearly two weeks ago.

“No one deserves to go home to their families more than you,” the space station’s new commander, Denmark’s Andreas Mogensen, said earlier this week.

Prokopyev told ground controllers throughout the descent that all three were feeling good. They experienced more than four times the force of gravity as their capsule streaked through the atmosphere and came to a touchdown in the barren Kazakh steppes, ending up on its side. Helicopters moved in with recovery crews to fetch the astronauts.

“It’s good to be home,” Rubio said after being pulled from the capsule.

Personal Reflections

Rubio, 47, an Army doctor and helicopter pilot, said at a news conference last week that he never would have agreed to a full year in space if asked at the outset. He ended up missing important family milestones including the oldest of his four children finishing her first year at the U.S. Naval Academy and another heading off to West Point.

Rubio had said the psychological aspect of spending so long in space was tougher than he expected. He may hold on to this record for a while. NASA has no plans as of now for more yearlong missions.

It was the first spaceflight for Rubio and Petelin, 40, an engineer. Prokopyev, 48, an engineer and pilot, has now pulled two long station stints.

They logged 157 million miles (253 million kilometers) since launching from Kazakhstan last September and circled the world nearly 6,000 times.

RELATED TOPICS:

DON'T MISS

Surprising Ways and Places You Can Use SNAP EBT Food Benefits

DON'T MISS

Californians Worry About Crime, Setting up a Ballot Measure Showdown

DON'T MISS

The Pickle Flavor Frenzy and Its Rise in Food Trends

DON'T MISS

Kate Hudson Had a Lifetime to Make a Record. The Result is ‘Glorious,’ Out in May

DON'T MISS

Long-Lost First Model of USS Enterprise from ‘Star Trek’ Boldly Goes Home

DON'T MISS

California Leaders Take Sides in Monumental Supreme Court Case on Homelessness

DON'T MISS

Man Sets Himself on Fire Outside Trump Hush Money Trial Court

DON'T MISS

McDonald’s Ice Cream Machines Are So Unreliable They’re a Meme. They Might Also Be a Climate Solution.

DON'T MISS

Real Estate Experts Talk Fresno’s Economic Future. Are Tough Times Ahead?

DON'T MISS

Unlocking the Secrets to Fresno State’s Superb Baseball Season

UP NEXT

Ship That Caused Bridge Collapse Had Apparent Electrical Issues While Still Docked, Source Says

UP NEXT

US Shoots Down Iran-Launched Attack Drones as Biden Team Pledges ‘Support’ for Israel

UP NEXT

US Intelligence Finding Shows China Surging Equipment Sales to Russia to Help War Effort in Ukraine

UP NEXT

US Measles Cases Are up in 2024. What’s Driving the Increase?

UP NEXT

Austin Tells Congress Israel Is Taking Steps to Boost Aid to Gaza as Lawmakers Question US Support

UP NEXT

The View for Fresno Eclipse Chasers in Texas? ‘Awesome’ to ‘Good Consolation Prize’

UP NEXT

Total Solar Eclipse Races Across North America as Clouds Part Along Totality

UP NEXT

Huge Crowds Await a Total Solar Eclipse in North America. Clouds May Spoil View.

UP NEXT

$15M Federal Grant Will Build Floating Solar Cells Over Delta-Mendota Canal

UP NEXT

4.8 Magnitude NYC Earthquake Unnerves the Northeast

Kate Hudson Had a Lifetime to Make a Record. The Result is ‘Glorious,’ Out in May

1 day ago

Long-Lost First Model of USS Enterprise from ‘Star Trek’ Boldly Goes Home

1 day ago

California Leaders Take Sides in Monumental Supreme Court Case on Homelessness

1 day ago

Man Sets Himself on Fire Outside Trump Hush Money Trial Court

2 days ago

McDonald’s Ice Cream Machines Are So Unreliable They’re a Meme. They Might Also Be a Climate Solution.

2 days ago

Real Estate Experts Talk Fresno’s Economic Future. Are Tough Times Ahead?

2 days ago

Unlocking the Secrets to Fresno State’s Superb Baseball Season

2 days ago

‘This Is How to Improve Reading Proficiency. We Just Have To Execute It’: FUSD Board President

2 days ago

Does Dyer Support (or Endorse) Bredefeld for Supervisor?

2 days ago

Get a 3D First Look at Merced’s High-Speed Rail Station Design

2 days ago

Surprising Ways and Places You Can Use SNAP EBT Food Benefits

Did you know that SNAP EBT benefits used to be called food stamps and that recipients can use those benefits to get healthy food in places o...

9 hours ago

9 hours ago

Surprising Ways and Places You Can Use SNAP EBT Food Benefits

9 hours ago

Californians Worry About Crime, Setting up a Ballot Measure Showdown

1 day ago

The Pickle Flavor Frenzy and Its Rise in Food Trends

1 day ago

Kate Hudson Had a Lifetime to Make a Record. The Result is ‘Glorious,’ Out in May

1 day ago

Long-Lost First Model of USS Enterprise from ‘Star Trek’ Boldly Goes Home

1 day ago

California Leaders Take Sides in Monumental Supreme Court Case on Homelessness

2 days ago

Man Sets Himself on Fire Outside Trump Hush Money Trial Court

2 days ago

McDonald’s Ice Cream Machines Are So Unreliable They’re a Meme. They Might Also Be a Climate Solution.

MENU

CONNECT WITH US

Search

Send this to a friend