NASA astronaut Frank Rubio returns from record-breaking space mission

A NASA astronaut returned safely to Earth on Wednesday after spending 371 days in space, a record for a U.S. astronaut.

NASA’s Frank Rubio and his crew, Roscosmos astronauts Sergei Prokofiev and Dmitry Betlin, made a safe, parachute-assisted landing southeast of the remote city of Dzhezkaskan in Kazakhstan at 7:17 a.m. ET.

After a post-landing medical examination, the crew will return to Karaganda, Kazakhstan. Mr. Rubio will board a NASA flight to return to Houston, where he lives with his family.

“For me, honestly, frankly, hugging my wife and kids is going to be the most important thing, and I’m going to focus on that for the first couple of days,” Mr. Rubio said last week during a news conference from space.

Mr. Rubio expected to be gone for just six months when he began his journey aboard a Russian Soyuz MS-22 spacecraft from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan last September.

He returned in December after Mission Control discovered a coolant leak in the Soyuz spacecraft. A leak may have developed Dangerously hot temperatures Another spacecraft had to be sent to the space station for the crew to return to Earth, Mr. Rubio’s visit was delayed. Mr. Rubio’s solo spacewalk broke the record of 355 days by an American astronaut, previously held by Mark Vande Hey, according to NASA.

Mr. Rubio’s unscheduled stay was more than just another milestone, NASA Administrator Bill Nelson said.

“This is an important contribution to our understanding of long-duration space missions,” said Mr. Nelson said in a statement. “Our astronauts are making extraordinary sacrifices to find more of their homes and loved ones.”

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During his long stay, Mr. Rubio made “invaluable scientific contributions.” Mr. Nelson said. The mission gave researchers a chance to observe the effects of long space travel on humans, as the agency plans to return to the moon Missions of Artemis And to explore Mars, he added.

Mr. Rubio conducted many hours of research on topics ranging from plants to physical science studies. These include investigations into how bacteria adapt to space travel and how exercise affects humans during long journeys.

During his tenure, Mr. Rubio completed approximately 5,936 orbits of the space station. He traveled more than 157 million miles, the equivalent of 328 trips to the moon and back.

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