NASA Astronaut Frank Rubio Sets Record for Longest Continuous Time in Space

NASA astronaut Frank Rubio has broken the record for the longest continuous time spent in space by a NASA astronaut. Rubio was originally scheduled to return to Earth after a six-month mission but was asked to extend his stay due to issues with the Soyuz spacecraft’s return journey. Rubio’s extended stay will now amount to a total of 371 days in space.

Rubio’s mission was initially aboard the Soyuz spacecraft, but after a micrometeoroid strike damaged the vehicle’s cooling system, it was determined that the spacecraft was no longer safe for the return journey. An empty Soyuz spacecraft was sent to the International Space Station as a replacement, and Rubio, along with his two Russian crewmates, Sergey Prokopyev and Dmitri Petelin, were tasked with completing the mission originally intended for the occupants of the replacement Soyuz.

Rubio’s extended stay in space has allowed him to live and work alongside 28 colleagues from various nations, including Italy, Japan, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates. He has also witnessed five different Crew Dragon missions visit the space station during his time there.

To maintain his physical health during the extended mission, Rubio has followed a strict exercise routine that includes resistance training and cardiovascular activities. As a flight surgeon, Rubio is interested in observing the effects of long-duration space travel on the human body.

NASA sees missions like Rubio’s as valuable in gathering data for future long-duration missions beyond low-Earth orbit. Rubio himself may be one of the astronauts flying on such missions in the future.

Rubio’s dedication and professionalism have been praised by NASA Administrator Bill Nelson, who highlighted the sacrifices astronauts make in terms of time away from family and friends. Nelson expressed gratitude for Rubio’s record-breaking mission and looks forward to welcoming him home in a few weeks.