Return to Earth after record stays on the ISS –

A NASA astronaut and two cosmonauts have landed safely on Earth after spending record stays of more than a year aboard the International Space Station (ISS), Russia’s space agency Roscosmos announced.

The Soyuz spacecraft capsule carrying Roscosmos cosmonauts Sergei Prokopyev and Dmitri Petelin and NASA astronaut Francisco Rubio, who spent a year aboard the ISS, landed in the region of the city of Yetskazgan in Kazakhstan, Roscosmos said.

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Cosmonauts Sergei Prokopyev, Dmitri Petelin and astronaut Frank Rubio rest in armchairs after the landing of the Soyuz space capsule.

Photo: NASA/Bill Ingalls

The trio returned to Earth after 371 days in space. Astronaut Frank Rubio became the American with the longest space flight in NASA history.

NASA chief Bill Nelson highlighted a historic moment in space exploration on X.

Frank Rubio completes his 371-day journey into space, setting a new record for the longest single spaceflight by an American astronaut. Welcome home, Frank! he wrote.

Astronaut Rubio took off aboard a Russian rocket in September 2022 and thought about setting off on a classic six-month mission accompanied by the two Russian cosmonauts.

But the Soyuz spacecraft that was supposed to bring them back – which, as always, remained docked to the ISS for the duration of its mission so that it could serve as an emergency vehicle if necessary – suffered a leak in December, presumably due to a micrometeorite impact.

As a precautionary measure, Roscosmos returned this ship and sent another, empty one. Frank Rubio and his two Russian colleagues thus fulfilled the mission of the crew that was originally supposed to arrive on board this second ship and replace them.

The previous record for an American was set in 2022 by astronaut Mark Vande Hei with 355 consecutive days. Russian cosmonaut Valéri Poliakov holds the absolute record for the longest stay in space with 437 days.