NASA astronaut Frank Rubio has made history by breaking the record for the longest time spent in space by an American. Rubio, along with space station commander Sergei Prokopyev and co-pilot Dmitri Petelin, spent an impressive 371 days in orbit, surpassing the previous record of 355 days.
Their journey began in September 2022 with the expectation of a six-month stay. However, a coolant leak disabled their Soyuz ferry ship, forcing them to extend their mission. To put the Russian crew-rotation schedule back on track, the trio stayed aloft for an additional six months.
Their return to Earth is scheduled for Wednesday, where they will undock from the International Space Station and land in Kazakhstan. By the time they touch the ground, the crew will have logged an astounding 370 days, 21 hours, and 22 minutes off the planet. During their voyage, they completed 5,936 orbits and covered an impressive distance of 157 million miles.
Prokopyev, who has already spent time in space on two flights, will have a total accumulated time of 568 days off the planet. While Rubio, Prokopyev, and Petelin will move into the third spot on the list, just behind retired cosmonaut Sergei Avdeyev, they will still remain behind the record-holder for the longest single spaceflight, cosmonaut Valery Polyakov, who spent 438 days aboard the Russian Mir space station in 1994-1995.
Rubio’s achievement also means that he surpasses the previous record set by Mark Vande Hei, who spent 355 days aboard the International Space Station, marking the longest U.S. flight until now.
This incredible feat by Rubio, Prokopyev, and Petelin highlights the dedication and resilience of astronauts who spend prolonged periods in space, furthering our understanding of the mysteries beyond our planet.
“Travel aficionado. Incurable bacon specialist. Tv evangelist. Wannabe internet enthusiast. Typical creator.”