NASA astronaut Frank Rubio Completes 1 Year In Space, Making Him The First American To Ever Attain Such A Milestone

NASA astronaut Frank Rubio just completed 365 days in space on September 21st, 2023. This milestone made Rubio the first American entire year in space. The astronaut arrived at the International Space Station on Sept. 21, 2022. Ever since then, he has been on several record-breaking missions including conducting dozens of scientific experiments that have enabled scientists to learn more about how humans can stay fit while working and living in space.

How NASA Astronaut Frank Rubio Commenced His Record-Breaking Mission

On Sept. 21, 2022, NASA astronaut Frank Rubio arrived at the International Space Station with Russian cosmonauts Sergey Porkopyev, and Dmitry Petelin in a mission that was planned to last for only six months. They arrived at the space station aboard Russia’s Soyuz MS-22 spacecraft. However, the crew detected an external leak from the Russian spacecraft in December 2022 during a scheduled planned spacewalk.

The crew later realized that a micrometeorite impact could have caused the impact. Hence, Rubio and his colleague’s stay aboard the station was extended. On Sept. 11, Rubio 47, broke a record surpassing the previous record of 355 consecutive days in space set by retired NASA astronaut Mark Vande Hei.

During the 1-year mission, Rubio and his colleagues conducted several scientific experiments such as researching how bacteria adapt to spaceflight, growing tomatoes using water-based and air-based methods, and testing an expandable capsule built for use in future missions.

The Soyuz MS-22 returned to Earth uncrewed since it is no longer safe to bring the crew home in February 2023. That same month, MS-23 was launched and docked at the International Space Station as a replacement for the crew return trip this month. Rubio and his two Russian colleagues will return to Earth on September 27 after spending 371 consecutive days in space. Note that the current record for the most consecutive days in space was held by Russian cosmonaut Valery Polyakov, who has spent about 437 days in space.

How NASA astronaut Frank Rubio celebrated his 1 year in space

Astronaut Frank Rubio floating inside the cupola, the International Space Station’s “window to the world.” (Image Credit: NASA Via AP)

To celebrate his 365th day aboard the ISS, Rubio engaged in some station upkeep routines including performing maintenance on the Human Research Facility by removing and changing its pressure sensor block. During the evening of that same day, he gathered biological samples for the ongoing Standard Measures experiment.

On that same day, the Flight Engineers including NASA astronauts Jasmin Moghbeli and Loral O’Hara started their daily routine aboard the Japanese Experiment Module (JEM) by cleaning the smoke detectors of the module. The two flight engineers separated their routine activities after taking the launch during the afternoon shift.

Moghbeli focused on removing and changing cables on the network routers in the Destiny Laboratory Module and O’Hara read the training materials on the station’s new Portable Water Dispenser. After that, O’Hara joined European Space Agency (ESA) astronaut Andreas Mogensen to study spacesuit operations.

Duty Performed by other astronauts that same day

JAXA (Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency) Flight Engineer Satoshi Furukawa began his day with two hours of mandatory exercise for astronauts using the ISS’s bike, CEVIS, and the Advanced Resistive Exercise Device, or ARED. After getting enough exercise, the astronaut spent the rest of the day working in JEM and obtaining samples from the Water Recovery System for future research.

The five Roscosmos cosmonauts aboard the space station engaged in separate tasks that day as two of them are getting ready to return to Earth by next week. Flight Engineer Konstantin Borisov engaged in working aboard the Nauka module, eliminating and replacing vacuum pumps. Roscosmos Flight Engineer Nikolai Chub operated the 3D printer in the Zvezda service module. Cosmonaut Oleg Kononenko who just arrived in space last week with O’Hara and Chub conducted research that revealed more about cardiovascular and respiratory function.

Commander Sergey Prokopyev and Flight Engineer Dmitri Petelin reached one year in space along with Rubio on Sept. 21 and spent their 365th day preparing to return to Earth on Sept. 27.

What NASA Astronaut Frank Rubio Has to Say About This Milestone

While engaging in a media press briefing on Tuesday, Rubio shared his concerns about the mission.

“If they had asked me upfront before training because you do train for a year or two years for your mission, I probably would have declined,” he said. “It would have hurt, but I would have declined and that’s only because of family, things that were going on this past year.”

“Had I known that I would have had to miss those very important events, I just would have had to say, ‘Thank you, but no thank you,'” Rubio continued, adding that he was excited to see his wife and four children.

Last month, “Good Morning America” interviewed Rubio ahead of the records he was about to set. During that interview, Rubio revealed that he would pass through a media examination when he returned to Earth. This is because many astronauts find it challenging to walk and stand upright after staying for an extended period in space.

“I’m not sure how it will be for me,” Rubio told ‘GMA.” “I’m preparing for the fact that it might be a challenge, that it might take a couple of days before I’m somewhat normal, but the reality is it’s going to take anywhere from two to six months of really intense rehab to get back to my normal, and that’s just part of the process.”

Conclusion

NASA astronaut Frank Rubio just completed 365 days in space making him the first American to attain such a milestone. This historic mission will surely inspire other astronauts to spend longer time in space. What do you think about this history-breaking mission? Check out these innovative space gifts.            

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