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    Three Astronauts Return to Earth After a Year in Space. NASA’s Frank Rubio Sets US Space Record

    Three Astronauts Return to Earth After a Year in Space. NASA's Frank Rubio Sets US Space Record

    A astronaut and two Russian cosmonauts returned to Earth on Wednesday after being stuck in space for just over a year. American Frank Rubio set a record for the longest U.S. spaceflight — a result of the extended stay.

    The trio landed in a remote area of Kazakhstan, descending in a Soyuz capsule that was rushed up as a replacement after their original ride was hit by space junk and lost all its coolant while docked to the International Space Station.

    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.

    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.

    There wasn't another Soyuz to launch a fresh crew until this month. Their replacements finally arrived nearly two weeks ago.

    “No one deserves to go home to their families more than you,” the space station's commander, 's Andreas Mogensen,…

    Continue Reading This Article At Military.com

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