Washington (EFE).- The American of Salvadoran origin Frank Rubio surpassed this Monday at the International Space Station (ISS) the record of 355 consecutive days, 3 hours and 45 minutes of stay in space and thus achieved a new mark for an astronaut from the American Space Agency (NASA).
That record was held by Mark Vande Hei as of March 30, 2022.
Meanwhile, the longest period of stay of a human being in space is held by cosmonaut Valeri Polyakov, who spent 437 days aboard the Mir station between 1994 and 1995.
Rubio, 47, is scheduled to return to Earth on September 27, so he will soon be the first American and one of only seven people to have spent a year or more in space, with a stay of 371 days.
“It is an honor to be considered one of the people who will spend the longest time in space,” Rubio said in a recent interview with ABC.
More time in space than expected
Rubio undertook his first mission to the ISS on September 21, 2022 aboard the Russian Soyuz MS-22 spacecraft, and together with his crewmates, cosmonauts Sergey Prokopyev and Dmitri Petelin, he was scheduled to return to Earth after six months in orbit.
But last December when Prokopyev and Petelin were preparing for a task outside the ISS, Russian mission controllers determined that the Soyuz spacecraft’s external cooling system was losing pressure, and the station’s cameras confirmed the ammonia leak.
The technicians decided that Soyuz MS-22 was not safe for return to Earth and on February 23 they launched Soyuz MS-23 and the stay of the three crew members was extended for another 180 days.
Russia returned the damaged Soyuz MS-22 on an autonomous mission last March.
Frank Rubio, an example for Hispanics
Rubio, born in Los Angeles, and his wife Deborah, have four children. During his childhood, the Latino lived in El Salvador and after his family moved to Miami (Florida) he studied at Miami Sunset High School.
The Hispanic reached the rank of second lieutenant in the United States Army for which he was a helicopter pilot, with more than 1,100 flight hours, including 600 combat hours during operations in Bosnia, Iraq and Afghanistan.
The astronaut graduated as a doctor from the Military Services University of Health Sciences, and in 2017 he was chosen to begin his two-year training as an astronaut.