Astronaut unwittingly breaks U.S. space record
September 13, 2023 - NASA astronaut Frank Rubio has inadvertently broken the U.S. record for the longest ever space mission, after a mishap on the International Space Station left him stranded in space.
On September 11, 2023, NASA Astronaut Frank Rubio inadvertently broke the U.S. record for the longest ever space mission.
Rubio launched to the International Space Station (ISS) on September 21, 2022, for a planned six-month stay.
However, in December 2022, the Soyuz spacecraft that transported Rubio, and two Russian cosmonauts, to the space station began leaking coolant while attached to the ISS, rendering it unfit to fly the trio back to Earth.
As a result of this, Sergey Prokopyev, Dmitri Petelin and Rubio’s stay on the ISS was extended for another six months.
If Rubio returns to Earth as planned on September 27, he will have spent 371 days in Earth orbit – making him one of only seven people to have spent a year in space, and beating previous U.S. record holder Mark T. Vande Hei’s flight duration by over two weeks.
The record for the longest ever stay in space is held by Russian Valeri Polyakov, who orbited the Earth aboard Mir for 438 days in the mid-90s.