Why was NASA astronaut stuck in space? Returns to Earth after spending record-breaking stint in space

Why was NASA astronaut stuck in space? Returns to Earth after spending record-breaking stint in space

After being stuck in space for more than a year, NASA astronaut Frank Rubio and two Russian cosmonauts have finally returned to the Earth.

Dr. Frank Rubio is the first American astronaut to have spent more than a year in space continuously. On Wednesday, he and two other Russian cosmonauts, Sergey Prokopyev and Dmitri Petelin, returned to Earth. Rubio outlasted astronauts Mark Vande Hei (355 days) and Scott Kelly (340 days) by nearly a year, spending 371 continuous days aboard the International Space Station (ISS).

The voyage broke records and ended up lasting more than twice as long as expected. Due to the fact that their initial return spacecraft was harmed by space debris when docking on the ISS in March, the three were stuck aboard the Space Station for 191 more days than was originally anticipated.

Why was Frank Rubio stuck in space? 

The trio was scheduled to return to Earth on March 28  in a Soyuz capsule, but they were forced to stay after their spacecraft was struck by a piece of space debris or meteoroid in December 2022, which resulted in an uncontrolled radiator leak. The three utilized the uncrewed replacement capsule in February to return to Earth after the unfixable one was brought back.

Rubio, Prokopyev, and Petelin had to stay on the ISS until now due to other schedule difficulties. However, Rubio's lengthy stay offers an unexpected chance to learn more about protracted spaceflight. After they arrived, they could hardly walk, so they were taken out of their Soyuz spacecraft and hauled away.

According to NASA, Rubio made around 5,936 orbits of the Earth during his mission, which is equivalent to about 157 million miles (253 million km) or nearly 328 visits to the moon and back. Additionally, he spent roughly 21 hours on three spacewalks and shared the ISS with 28 different crew members. After landing on Earth, Rubio said to reporters, "It's good to be home."

Why was NASA astronaut stuck in space? Returns to Earth after spending record-breaking stint in space
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About Frank Rubio

Rubio joined NASA in 2017 and is the first person of El Salvadoran ancestry to circle the Earth. Prior to entering the space program, Rubio served as a special forces Army officer, flight surgeon, and Blackhawk helicopter pilot who conducted combat missions in Bosnia, Afghanistan, and Iraq. This was Rubio's first space mission.

Before landing on Earth, Rubio informed reporters that he would have declined the mission if he had been aware of the schedule beforehand. He said the emotional toll of such an extended stay on the ISS was harder than he had imagined and that he had missed out on significant family occasions. Nevertheless, he claimed to be honored and to be looking forward to recovering the strength and balance he had lost due to extended microgravity. 

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