Astronaut Frank Rubio Breaks Record for Longest Mission in Space by an American

Astronaut Frank Rubio has officially broken the record for the longest in-orbit mission by an American. Spending over 355 days aboard the International Space Station (ISS), Rubio surpassed the previous record set by Mark Vande in 2022. Rubio, a doctor by training and a helicopter pilot, expressed his excitement about reaching the 365-day milestone, stating that it would be a significant achievement for the nation.

The world record for the longest mission in space is held by Russian cosmonaut Valeri Polyakov, who spent 437 days in orbit. Rubio is scheduled to return to Earth on September 27, at which point he will have spent a total of 371 days in space.

Rubio’s extended stay in space was unplanned. Initially, his mission was supposed to last for six months, but due to a leak on the Russian Soyuz rocket that was supposed to bring him and his crewmates home, the Russian space agency Roscosmos sent up another rocket with no crew aboard. Rubio and his colleagues carried out the mission of the crew that was initially slated to travel on the second rocket.

During his time on the ISS, Rubio has witnessed the arrival and departure of 28 people, representing various nationalities. Reflecting on this, Rubio stated that it was incredible to think that he had shared space with almost five percent of all humans who have ever been to space.

Living and conducting experiments in low Earth orbit have posed challenges for Rubio. The confined quarters and the psychological aspect of spending a year in space have presented unique obstacles. However, Rubio emphasized the importance of focusing on work while appreciating the amazing view from space.

It is worth noting that former astronaut Peggy Whitson holds the US record for most days in space over a lifetime, with a total of 675 days during several missions.

Source: Agence France-Presse