As humans constantly push the limits of space exploration, one man has made history. Frank Rubio, a NASA astronaut, has become the first American to spend an entire consecutive year in space. After witnessing his remarkable journey, the world eagerly awaits his return to Earth on September 27, 2023.
Frank Rubio’s historic feat unfolded aboard the International Space Station (ISS), where he was stationed alongside Russian cosmonauts Sergey Prokopyev and Dmitry Petelin. Initially planned for a standard duration, their mission took an unexpected turn when a micrometeorite impact caused a coolant leak in their Soyuz capsule. This incident led to a reshuffling of assignments from the Russian space agency, Roscosmos.
An empty Soyuz capsule was sent into space. At the same time, Rubio and his Russian counterparts had to step in and shoulder the responsibilities of cosmonauts and astronauts who were initially scheduled to join them.
Amid this extraordinary challenge, the US-born Latino astronaut and NASA found a way to celebrate the occasion with a live interview from the ISS.
During the interview, Rubio was candid about his feelings regarding the extended mission. “If they had asked me upfront before training because you do train for a year or two years for your mission, I probably would have declined,” Rubio told reporters. “That’s only because of family things that were going on this past year, and had I known that I would have had to miss those very important events, I just would have had to say ‘thank you, but no thank you.’”
Rubio’s honest reflection on the significance of family events and his commitment to his loved ones underline astronauts‘ sacrifices for scientific exploration and humanity’s thirst for knowledge.
As Rubio’s return to Earth approaches, the anticipation of his first moments back on solid ground grows. He shared a heartfelt sentiment when asked about his plans upon returning home. “Hugging my wife and kids is going to be paramount, and I’ll probably focus on that for the first couple of days,” Rubio expressed. “We’re blessed enough to have kind of a quiet backyard, and I think just going out in the yard and enjoying the trees and the silence.”
As Rubio prepares to land in the Kazakh Steppe before being flown back to the United States, the world celebrates his remarkable achievement and eagerly awaits his safe return. His historic year in space has not only broken records but has also provided valuable insights into human endurance, teamwork, and the unyielding spirit of exploration.