WASHINGTON — NASA astronaut Frank Rubio now holds the record for the longest U.S. spaceflight.
Rubio surpassed the U.S. space endurance record of 355 days on Monday at the International Space Station. He arrived at the outpost last September with two Russians for a routine six months. But their stay was doubled after their Soyuz capsule developed a coolant leak while parked at the space station.
The trio will return to Earth on Sept. 27 in a replacement capsule that was sent up empty for the ride home. By then, Rubio will have spent 371 days in space, more than two weeks longer than Mark Vande Hei, the previous U.S. record holder for a single spaceflight, Russia holds the world record of 437 days, set in the mid-1990s.
“Your dedication is truly out of this world, Frank!” NASA chief Bill Nelson said via X, formerly known as Twitter.
A replacement crew of two Russians and an American is set to launch to the station from Kazakhstan on Friday.
It's been a busy month for the ISS, with four astronauts departing earlier this month on a SpaceX capsule after a six-month stay in space.
Their SpaceX capsule parachuted into the Atlantic off the Florida coast.
Returning from that trip were NASA astronauts Stephen Bowen and Warren “Woody” Hoburg, Russia's Andrei Fedyaev and the United Arab Emirates' Sultan al-Neyadi, the first person from the Arab world to spend an extended time in orbit.
Before departing the space station, the astronauts said they were craving hot showers, steaming cups of coffee and the ocean air since arriving in March. Their homecoming was delayed a day because of poor weather at the splashdown locations, but in the end, provided a spectacular middle-of-the-night show as the capsule streaked through the sky over Cape Canaveral toward a splashdown near Jacksonville.
The astronauts said it was incredible to be back. “You've got a roomful of happy people here,” SpaceX Mission Control radioed.
SpaceX launched their replacements late last month.
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