After spending nearly a year on the International Space Station (ISS), record-breaking astronaut Frank Rubio said he would have turned down his space mission if he had known he would be in orbit for so long.
“If they had asked me in advance before you started training, because you train for a year or two before your mission, I probably would have said no,” Rubio told reporters from the ISS during a NASA press conference. “That’s just because of family stuff that’s been going on for the past year.”
“If I knew I had to miss these very important events, I should just say ‘thanks, but no thanks,'” he added.
Rubio recently broke the record for the longest space mission by an American astronaut, surpassing Mark Vande Hey’s record of 355 days in orbit. It is scheduled to land on September 27, by which time it will have spent 371 days in space, although that falls short of Russian cosmonaut Valeri Polyakov’s 437 days.
THE ASTRONAUT WOULD “REFUSE” THE MISSION IF HE KNEW IT WOULD LAST OVER A YEAR:
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Rubio launched from Kazakhstan on a Russian-operated Soyuz MS-22 with a Russian crew on September 21, 2022. The mission was supposed to last only six months, but the ship that was supposed to bring the crew home had a coolant leak and was deemed unserviceable. safe.
Roscosmos then needed additional time to prepare another Soyuz vehicle. It finally docked with the ISS on Friday, carrying two more Russian cosmonauts and another American astronaut.
“When it finally became a reality that it would require me to stay for a full year … it was tough,” the Miami native said. Learning that his stay at the station was being extended was the hardest part of his mission, he added.
The “endurance and strength” of the astronaut’s wife and children got him through the entire mission, he told reporters.
The astronaut’s record-breaking journey was also his first as an astronaut. He previously served as a medic and Blackhawk helicopter pilot with over 600 hours of combat experience in Iraq, Afghanistan and Bosnia, according to NASA.
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“Operating the International Space Station for 23 years requires a lot of individual and family sacrifice,” Rubio said. “After all, this is our job. We have to complete the mission.”
However, spending time with his Russian crewmates who went through this whole event with him “was the most special part,” he added.
Although tensions between the US and Russia are tense due to the ongoing war in Ukraine, the two countries’ space agencies, NASA and Roscomos, have continued to work together to launch astronauts into orbit and maintain the ISS. The relationship hit turbulence in April 2022 when Dmitry Rogozin, then director general of Roscosmos, threatened to end Russia’s ISS cooperation unless the economic sanctions imposed on Russia due to the war are lifted.
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Russian President Vladimir Putin relieved Rogozin of his position in June 2022. according to the Kremlin.
Yuri Borisov, the current head of Roscosmos, said next month that Russia would fulfill its commitments to its partners before leaving the ISS “after 2024”. However, the details of how the country will do this remain under discussion.