A new record of the longest US spaceflight stay was set by NASA astronaut American Frank Rubio, beating Mark Vande Hei! Vande Hei held the endurance record for NASA for a single spaceflight before this; however, Rubio won him by staying two more weeks.
The astronaut returned to Earth on Wednesday with two Russian cosmonauts after being stuck for over a year in space. In a Soyuz capsule, the trio traveled after the original ride, which was docked at the International Space Station, was damaged by space junk, losing all its coolant.
The Soyuz capsule replaced the original ride and landed in Kazakhstan in a remote location launched in February. The two cosmonauts, Dmitri Petelin and Sergey Prokopyev, were brought back with Rubio in the capsule.
The mission was a six-month mission, basically a 180-day mission turned into a 371-day mission due to a piece of space junk that damaged the original capsule by piercing its radiator, leading to severe security and safety issues.
After the hit, the engineers were worried about the occupants and the electronics of the capsule heating to dangerous levels, considering they lost all the coolant. Due to that reason, the original capsule returned empty. The replacement took some time, leading to their extended stay in space.
The space station commander at NASA, recently appointed Andreas Morgensen of Denmark, remarked that the astronaut and the two cosmonauts deserved to go home to their families! During the descent, all three were reported to be in good shape and were feeling quite good.
Considering the capsule was streaking through the atmosphere, the trio experienced gravity multiplied four times, thus touching down at the barren Kazakh steppes and finally ending up on the side! The astronaut and the cosmonauts were pulled out of the capsule by recovery crews brought in by Helicopter.