This astronaut will set a new US record for longest time spent in space

Mar 29, 2023, 3:42 PM

(Oct. 1, 2022) --- NASA astronaut and Expedition 68 Flight Engineer Frank Rubio is pictured inside ...

(Oct. 1, 2022) --- NASA astronaut and Expedition 68 Flight Engineer Frank Rubio is pictured inside the cupola, the International Space Station's "window to the world," as the orbiting lab flew 263 miles above southeastern England.

(Oct. 1, 2022)

(CNN) — Astronaut Frank Rubio traveled to the International Space Station on September 21, 2022, for what he thought would be a six-month mission. But he’ll wind up staying in space for over a year — breaking the record for the longest mission conducted by a US astronaut.

Rubio will return to Earth aboard a Russian Soyuz spacecraft no earlier than September 27, NASA officials said Wednesday, meaning he will have logged a total of at least 371 days in orbit. That tour of duty will beat the previous record of 355 days set by US astronaut Mark Vande Hei in 2022.

Rubio’s return trip had been slated for this spring. But the spacecraft that carried Rubio and two Russian colleagues — cosmonauts Sergey Prokopiev and Dmitry Petelin — sprang a coolant leak in December. Officials at Roscosmos, Russia’s space agency, later deemed the spacecraft was not safe enough to carry the astronauts back home.

Instead, the Soyuz MS-22 capsule returned to Earth without a crew on March 28. Roscosmos launched a replacement spacecraft, MS-23, that docked with the space station on February 23.

Records in space

If all goes to plan and Rubio departs on September 27, his 371-day stay will not be a world record. The late Russian cosmonaut Valeri Polyakov, who logged 437 continuous days in orbit aboard Russia’s Mir space station between 1994 and 1995, still holds that title.

Vande Hei set the current US record last year after NASA and Roscosmos decided to extend his stay because Russia had chosen to send a film crew of two people to the space station to film a movie. Vande Hei’s return was delayed to allow for the additional traffic to the orbiting laboratory, though he said at the time that he had known his mission might be extended before he arrived.

Before Vande Hei, US astronaut Scott Kelly held the title for longest spaceflight by an American with his 340-day mission. That tour of duty was a planned extended mission, designed by NASA to study the long-term effects of spaceflight on the human body.

Rubio’s extended stay, however, was not previously anticipated before the Soyuz MS-22 capsule had a coolant leak last December.

Getting to space

Rubio traveled to the space station on a Russian spacecraft as part of crew-swapping agreement between NASA and Roscosmos that was hashed out in the summer of 2022.

NASA officials assigned Rubio to ride aboard the Soyuz MS-22, while Roscosmos put cosmonaut Anna Kikina on a SpaceX Crew Dragon mission that took flight in October 2022 and returned home March 11.

Despite geopolitical tensions between the United States and Russia as the war in Ukraine has escalated, NASA has repeatedly said its partnership with Roscosmos is vital to continuing the space station’s operations and the valuable scientific research carried out on board.

At the time the ride-sharing agreement was announced, NASA said in a statement that inking such a deal with Russia was crucial to ensure “continued safe operations” of the space station. If either the Russian Soyuz spacecraft or the SpaceX Crew Dragon capsule were to run into issues and be taken out of service, a seat-swap agreement would ensure that both US astronauts and Russian cosmonauts would still have access to the space station.

Roscosmos did not need to rely on a SpaceX capsule to replace the Soyuz MS-22 crew ship, however, because the MS-23 spacecraft was prepared to fly and the coolant leak on the MS-22 vehicle did not necessarily point to possible issues with other Soyuz vehicles.

The-CNN-Wire™ & © 2023 Cable News Network, Inc., a Warner Bros. Discovery Company. All rights reserved.

KSL 5 TV Live

National News

President Joe Biden speaks at the Memorial Amphitheater of Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington...

Aamer Madhani and Rebecca Santana

Biden marks Memorial Day lauding generations of fallen US troops who ‘dared all and gave all’

President Joe Biden says in a Memorial Day address Americans “must never forget" the price paid by troops who “dared all and gave all” to protect their democracy.

13 hours ago

Security guards check identification for proof of age outside the Mall in Columbia, Friday, May 12,...

Anne D’Innocenzio

More businesses require teens to be chaperoned by adults, curbing their independence

For many teens, roaming shopping malls, hanging out at amusement parks, and watching a movie at a local theater with their peers have been long considered the rites of passage to adulthood. But recently, that independence has been curbed.

13 hours ago

A member of the 3rd U.S. Infantry Regiment, also known as The Old Guard, places flags in front of e...

Ben Finley

5 things to know about Memorial Day including its controversies

Memorial Day is supposed to be about mourning the nation’s fallen service members. But it’s come to anchor the unofficial start of summer and a long weekend of retail discounts.

13 hours ago

Picture shows headstone of Luther Story at Andersonville National Cemetery, Wednesday, May 17, 2023...

Russ Bynum

‘He’s home’: Missing 73 years, Medal of Honor recipient’s remains return to Georgia

An American soldier awarded the Medal of Honor after he went missing in battle during the Korean War is being buried on Memorial Day near his hometown in Georgia.

13 hours ago

Onlookers watch as emergency crews work the scene of a partial building collapse on the 300 block o...

Associated Press

No deaths reported after rescuers rush to save residents from Iowa building collapse, officials say

Davenport Fire Chief Michael Carlsten said at a news conference on Monday that it was unclear how many people, if any, were still missing after an apartment building in the eastern Iowa city collapsed.

13 hours ago

This booking photo provided by the Mesa, Ariz., Police Department shows Iren Byers. Byers has been ...

Associated Press

Police: Suspect arrested in 5 separate shootings in Arizona’s Phoenix metro area; 4 dead

Authorities say a suspect has been arrested on connection in connection with five separate shootings in the Phoenix metro area that left four people dead and a woman wounded.

2 days ago

Sponsored Articles

Asian little girl playing arcade game on the computer machines at the shopping mall outlets...

Get Out Pass

Family Fun Activities in Utah You Have to Try This Summer

These family fun activities will entertain you all summer, so if you ever feel stuck in a rut wondering what to do, refer to this guide!

Woman IT specialist in elegant suit working on notebook computer in data center next to server rack...

Les Olson

Your Complete Guide to Outsourcing IT Services

This guide covers everything you need to know about the different benefits of outsourcing IT services to meet your small business needs.

diverse group of friends dance outside under string lights...

Lighting Design

5 Frequently Asked Questions About Outdoor Lighting

Read for the most frequently asked questions about outdoor lighting to help narrow the search for your home.

Stack of old laptops with dark background...

PC Laptops

Old Laptop Upgrades You Need to Try Before Throwing it Away

Get the most out of your investment. Try these old laptop upgrades before throwing it out to keep it running fast and efficient.

Happy diverse college or university students are having fun on their graduation day...

BYU MBA at the Marriott School of Business

How to Choose What MBA Program is Right for You: Take this Quiz Before You Apply!

Wondering what MBA program is right for you? Take this quiz before you apply to see if it will help you meet your goals.

Close up of an offset printing machine during production...

Les Olson IT

Top 7 Reasons to Add a Production Printer to Your Business

Learn about the different digital production printers and how they can help your company save time and money.

This astronaut will set a new US record for longest time spent in space