The American astronaut of Salvadoran descent Frank Rubio returned to Earth today aboard the Soyuz MS-23 spacecraft after 371 days in space. what made him astronaut of the POT with more consecutive days in space and the first Hispanic to achieve the feat.

Blonde, from 47 yearslanded in the Russian descent capsule of the International Space Station (ISS) at 11:17 GMT in the Kazakh steppe, southeast of the city of Zhezkazgan, together with cosmonauts Sergei Prokopiev and Dmitri Petelin.

After the second left the Soyuz, the NASA astronaut, with his thumbs up and always smiling, said that “It’s good to be home”that is, back on earth.

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A milestone for NASA

On the 19th, in his last communication from the ISS, The NASA astronaut declared that today marks a “unique milestone in American space travel.”

Rubio, the first astronaut Salvadoran origins traveled to room and the twelfth Hispanic overall to do soreturned to Earth after being on the ISS with four different crews and with two records to their name.

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He is the NASA astronaut with the most consecutive days in space, having surpassed Mark Vande Hei on September 11 with 355 consecutive days on the ISS.

Additionally, Rubio, born in Los Angeles but whose mother, Myrna Argueta, still lives in El Salvador, He is the first Hispanic to achieve both this figure and the number of days in space accumulated, and this after it had only completed its first mission aboard the space platform. A Hispanic who is proud of his community

“It is a great honor to represent Hispanics. The message to the youth is: keep working, studying, that everything is possible. It is important that our community moves forward and continues to improve our country. I think Latinos will be a big part of America in the future,” he emphasized in his final statements from space on the 19th.

Frank Rubio managed to break the record for continuous days in space. Photo: EFE

The Spanish-speaking astronaut acknowledged that if he had known before beginning his training for this mission that he would remain on the ISS for more than a year, “I probably would have declined” NASA’s offer, especially because He missed important family events during the year he spent in space.

Rubio thanked his wife, Deborah, and his four teenage children for their support, as their “resilience and strength” helped him overcome this entire mission, which he had been preparing for for five years.

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In total, the mission of the astronaut, who calls Miami his home and was selected by NASA in 2017, traveled 253.3 million kilometers and 5,963 times around the Earth.

Rubio achieved his records not because his mission would last more than a year, but because he was stranded on the ISS for more than six months. A record thanks to or despite bad luck

The American astronaut of Spanish descent was launched on September 21, 2022 aboard the Soyuz MS-22 and was initially scheduled to return in March 2023.

But in mid-December last year, the Russian space agency Roscosmos discovered a defect in the cooling system in the ship’s outer hull due to the impact of a micrometeroid.

This made the return of Rubio, Prokopiev and Petelin too risky aboard this Russian ship, which returned to Russia’s Baikonur Cosmodrome without a crew on March 28. Roscosmos sent an unmanned replacement spacecraft, the Soyuz MS-23, to the ISS on February 24 to pick up the NASA astronaut and the two cosmonauts, finally returning them to Earth today.

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Rubio admitted last week that it was difficult when the decision “became real” that he would spend a year on the international orbital platform.

In this sense, he also noted that the “psychological factor” was more tiring than he thought in the ISS, but that it helped him to have an excellent team around him, to keep busy and at the same time have time to relax and, above all, Everyone stay in touch with your loved ones at home. He said it will take Rubio two to six months on Earth to fully recover from his mission.

Once he arrives at his home in California from Houston, where a NASA plane from Kazakhstan will take him, he just wants to “hug” his wife and children. And “enjoy the trees and the silence” in his garden, as there is a constant noise of machines on the ISS, he admitted. (JO)