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Record-Breaking NASA Astronaut Returns Home After Mission in Outer Space

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NASA astronaut Frank Rubio has set a new record for the longest single spaceflight by a U.S. astronaut after spending more than a year on board the International Space Station (ISS). Rubio, along with his crew mates Sergey Prokopyev and Dmitri Petelin, made a parachute-assisted landing in Kazakhstan after spending 317 days in low Earth orbit. Rubio’s extended mission was a result of a coolant leak in the spacecraft that transported them to the ISS in December 2022. During his time on the ISS, Rubio completed over 5,900 orbits of Earth and traveled a distance equivalent to approximately 328 round trips to the Moon and back.

NASA Administrator Bill Nelson praised Rubio’s record-breaking achievement, stating that it not only marks a significant milestone but also contributes to our understanding of long-duration space missions. Rubio’s mission highlights the sacrifices made by astronauts who spend extended periods away from their homes and loved ones to advance scientific discovery. Rubio admitted that he would have declined the mission if he had known in advance about the duration of his stay in space. His record surpasses the previous record of 355 days set by Mark Vande Hei in 2022 and makes him one of only six individuals to spend a year in space.

Rubio’s return to Earth marks the end of a historic mission that provides valuable insights into the physical and psychological effects of long-duration space travel. This accomplishment showcases the continued dedication and perseverance of astronauts in pushing the boundaries of human exploration. As space exploration continues to evolve, Rubio’s record-setting achievement will contribute to future missions and advancements in our understanding of space.

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