Posted: Wednesday, September 27, 2023. 12:41 pm CST.
By Zoila Palma Gonzalez: Record-setting Latino NASA astronaut Frank Rubio and his crewmates returned to Earth today.
Rubio was born in Los Angeles to Salvadoran parents and broke barriers at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) in the United States.
Rubio departed the International Space Station, along with Roscosmos cosmonauts Sergey Prokopyev and Dmitri Petelin, at 3:54 a.m. EDT, and made a safe, parachute-assisted landing at 7:17 a.m. southeast of the remote town of Dzhezkazgan, Kazakhstan.
“Frank’s record-breaking time in space is not just a milestone; it’s a major contribution to our understanding of long-duration space missions,” said NASA Administrator Bill Nelson.
“Our astronauts make extraordinary sacrifices away from their homes and loved ones to further discovery. NASA is immensely grateful for Frank’s dedicated service to our nation and the invaluable scientific contributions he made on the International Space Station. He embodies the true pioneer spirit that will pave the way for future exploration to the Moon, Mars, and beyond,” Nelson added.
According to NASA, Rubio launched on his first spaceflight on Sept. 21, 2022, alongside Prokopyev and Petelin.
Rubio’s spaceflight is the longest single spaceflight by a U.S. astronaut, breaking the record previously held at 355 days by NASA astronaut Mark Vande Hei.
During his mission, Rubio completed approximately 5,936 orbits and a journey of more than 157 million miles, roughly the equivalent of 328 trips to the Moon and back.
He witnessed the arrival of 15 visiting spacecraft and the departure of 14 visiting spacecraft representing crewed and uncrewed cargo missions.
NASA noted that during Rubio’s record-breaking mission, he spent many hours on scientific activities aboard the space station, conducting a variety of tasks ranging from plant research to physical sciences studies.
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