(CNN) Astronaut Frank Rubio flew to the International Space Station on September 21, 2022 for what he thought would be a six-month mission. But he would end up staying in space for more than a year – breaking the record for the longest mission by an American astronaut.
NASA officials said Wednesday that Rubio will return to Earth aboard the Russian Soyuz spacecraft no later than Sept. 27, which means he will have logged at least 371 days in orbit. That round of work will beat you previous record 355 days set by US astronaut Mark Vandy are in 2022.
Rubio’s return trip was scheduled for this spring. But the spacecraft that carried Rubio and two of his Russian colleagues — cosmonauts Sergey Prokopyev and Dmitry Petlin — Coolant leak jumped in December. Officials at the Russian space agency Roscosmos later considered that the spacecraft was not safe enough to carry the cosmonauts home.
Instead, the Soyuz MS-22 capsule returned to Earth without a crew on March 28. Roscosmos has launched an alternative spacecraft, the MS-23, which docked with the space station on February 23.
records in space
If all goes as planned and Rubio departs on September 27, his stay of 371 days will not be a world record. The late Russian cosmonaut Valery Polyakov, who logged 437 continuous days in orbit aboard the Russian space station Mir between 1994 and 1995, still holds that title.
Vandy set the current US record last year after NASA and Roscosmos decided to extend his stay because Russia chose to send a two-man camera crew to the space station to shoot a movie. Vande Hei’s return was delayed to allow additional traffic to the orbiting laboratory, though He said At the time he knew his mission might be extended before he arrived.
Before Vandy He, American astronaut Scott Kelly claimed the title of the longest spaceflight by an American in his 340-day mission. That tour of duty was a planned expanded mission, designed by NASA for Study the long-term effects From spaceflight to the human body.
However, Rubio’s extended stay was not anticipated in advance of a coolant leak in the Soyuz MS-22 capsule last December.
Go to space
Rubio traveled to the space station on a Russian spacecraft as part of the Crew swap agreement between NASA and Roscosmos that has been hashed out in the summer of 2022.
NASA officials assigned Rubio to ride aboard the Soyuz MS-22 spacecraft, while Russian space agency Roscosmos put cosmonaut Anna Kikina in SpaceX Crew Dragon mission which made a flight in October 2022 and He returned to the house March 11th.
Despite geopolitical tensions between the United States and Russia as the war in Ukraine escalates, NASA has repeatedly said its partnership with Roscosmos, the Russian space agency, is vital to continuing space station operations and the valuable scientific research being conducted on board.
At the time the ride-sharing agreement was announced, NASA said in a statement that such a deal with Russia is crucial to ensuring “continued safe operations” for the space station. If the Russian Soyuz spacecraft or SpaceX’s Crew Dragon capsule encounters problems and is taken out of service, the seat swap agreement would ensure that American and Russian cosmonauts would still be able to access the space station.
Roscosmos did not need to rely on the SpaceX capsule to replace the Soyuz MS-22 crew ship, since the MS-23 spacecraft was ready to fly and a coolant leak on the MS-22 did not necessarily indicate potential problems with other Soyuz vehicles.
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