Astronaut returns home after a full unplanned year in space | ET REALITY

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A NASA astronaut returned safely to Earth Wednesday after spending 371 days in space, a spaceflight record for American astronauts.

NASA’s Frank Rubio and his crewmates, Roscosmos cosmonauts Sergey Prokopyev and Dmitri Petelin, made a safe parachute-assisted landing southeast of the remote city of Dzhezkazgan, Kazakhstan, at 7:17 a.m. Eastern Time.

Following post-landing medical examinations, the crew will return to Karaganda, Kazakhstan. Rubio will then board a NASA plane bound for his return to Houston, where he lives with his family.

“For me, honestly, obviously, hugging my wife and my kids is going to be paramount, and I’ll probably focus on that for the first few days,” Rubio said during a news conference from space last week.

Rubio expected to be gone only six months when he first embarked on his journey on the Russian Soyuz MS-22 spacecraft from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan last September.

Its return was cut short in December after mission control found a coolant leak in the Soyuz spacecraft. The leak could have created dangerously high temperatures for the crew on their return to Earth, so a different spacecraft had to be sent to the space station, delaying Mr. Rubio’s return. Rubio’s only space flight surpassed the record of 355 days for an American astronaut, previously held by Mark Vande Hei, NASA said.

Rubio’s unplanned extended stay was about more than just reaching another milestone, said NASA Administrator Bill Nelson.

“It is an important contribution to our understanding of long-duration space missions,” Nelson said in a statement. “Our astronauts make extraordinary sacrifices far from their homes and loved ones to achieve greater discoveries.”

During his extended stay, Rubio made “invaluable scientific contributions,” Nelson said. The mission gave researchers the opportunity to observe the effects that long space flights have on humans as the agency plans to return to the Moon with the Artemis Missions and explore Mars, he added.

Rubio spent hours conducting research on a variety of topics, from plants to physical science studies. These included research into how bacteria adapt to space flight and how exercise affects humans during long missions.

During his mission, Rubio completed about 5,936 orbits aboard the space station. He traveled more than 157 million miles, roughly equivalent to 328 trips to the Moon and back.

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