American Hero Sets New Record for Most Consecutive Days in Space on His First Mission

Way back in the spring of last year the American space agency announced a new record for most consecutive days spent in space by one of its astronauts. The man's name is Mark Vande Hei, and at the time his record read 355 days in low-Earth orbit. But that's history now.
Astronaut Frank Rubio on the International Space Station 11 photos
Photo: NASA
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It was on September 11 when another NASA astronaut, a guy named Frank Rubio, shot past that 355-day mark and became the new record holder. By the time he comes back to the surface of the planet later this month, he will have spent more than a full year in space, more specifically 371 days. And just a quick look at the astronaut's resume shows just how impressive this achievement is.

The American is part of the 2017 Astronaut Candidate Class, meaning he's one of the new bloods now flying space missions. A graduate of the U.S. Military Academy, he served as UH-60 Blackhawk helicopter pilot for more than 1,100 flight hours, 600 of them in combat duty in the skies over Bosnia, Afghanistan, and Iraq.

He finished his astronaut training in 2019, but it wasn't until 2022 that he actually got to fly up into space. Rubio was a flight engineer for Expedition 68, a crew that also comprised Russian cosmonauts Sergey Prokopyev and Dmitry Petelin.

Rubio departed for the International Space Station (ISS) in September last year, flying on board a Soyuz MS-22 spacecraft from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. Despite his stay up there being on the verge of becoming the longest ever, it is the man's first mission to the ISS, or to space.

During his very long stay on the orbital laboratory, Rubio performed a host of experiments, including in the fields of robotics, space physics, and biology. More importantly, he was involved in three spacewalks, all of them last year.

In all, according to NASA's records, the astronaut spent a total of over 21 hours outside the space station: that's almost a full day of the total spent in a suit, surrounded by the vacuum of space, the close proximity of the space station, and the breathtaking view of our home planet.

Come the early 2030, the International Space Station is scheduled to be retired. It means that technically there is still plenty of time for others to break the record set by Rubio, but it's unclear if anyone else will have a go at it.

The rest of the year has a couple more missions to the ISS planned, both of them meant to deliver cargo. A new SpaceX crew launch is scheduled for the early months of 2024, and the first flight of the Boeing Starliner is in the cards for a summer 2024 departure.
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About the author: Daniel Patrascu
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Daniel loves writing (or so he claims), and he uses this skill to offer readers a "behind the scenes" look at the automotive industry. He also enjoys talking about space exploration and robots, because in his view the only way forward for humanity is away from this planet, in metal bodies.
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