A NASA astronaut and two Russian cosmonauts returned to Earth this Wednesday after being in space for just over a year. According to news reports,. American Frank Rubio has spent the longest time in space out of any other American thanks to his unexpected extended stay.
What should have been a 180-day mission turned into a 371-day stay. Rubio spent more than two weeks longer in space than Mark Vande Hei, who held NASA’s previous endurance record for a single spaceflight.
Russia holds the world record of 437 days, set in the mid-1990s.
The Soyuz capsule that brought Rubio and cosmonauts Sergey Prokopyev and Dmitri Petelin back was a replacement launched in February. Russian engineers suspect a piece of space junk pierced the radiator of their original capsule late last year, midway through what should have been a six-month mission. Engineers worried that without cooling, the capsule’s electronics and any occupants could overheat to dangerous levels, so the craft returned empty.
Read more at CBS8.