Stuck in Space
News Shorts
Posted: September 28, 2023
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    NASA astronaut Frank Rubio is carried to a medical tent shortly after landing in Zhezkazgan, Kazakhstan, on September 27, 2023. (Bill Ingalls/NASA via AP)
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    The astronauts pose before their mission. Little did they know how long they would spend in space! From left: NASA astronaut Frank Rubio and Russian cosmonauts Sergey Prokopyev and Dmitri Petelin (AP/Dmitri Lovetsky)
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    Here they come! The Soyuz MS-23 spacecraft glides toward a remote area near Zhezkazgan, Kazakhstan. (Bill Ingalls/NASA via AP)
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You’ve heard of getting stuck in traffic. How about getting stuck in space?

A NASA astronaut and two Russian cosmonauts returned to Earth on Wednesday. They were stuck in space for just over a year. In fact, they hung out so long that one of them—American Frank Rubio—set a record for the longest U.S. spaceflight.

But down, down, down the adventurers finally came. The trio landed in a remote area of Kazakhstan. They rode aboard a Soyuz capsule. That spacecraft was rushed to space to replace their original ride. Space junk hit their old ship!

Their mission should have lasted just 180 days. But it turned into a 371-day stay. Mr. Rubio spent more than two weeks longer in space than the previous record-holder. At least, longer than the last American record holder. A Russian cosmonaut holds the world record for longest single spaceflight. Valery Polyakov stayed in space for 437 days.

After the group landed, helicopters moved in. Recovery crews fetched the astronauts.

“It’s good to be home,” Mr. Rubio said after being pulled from the capsule.

Mr. Rubio is 47. He has served as an Army doctor and helicopter pilot. He says he would never have agreed to a full year in space. He missed his kids. While he was gone, one finished her first year at the U.S. Naval Academy. One headed off to West Point, another military school.

He may hold on to his record for a while. NASA officials have no plans for more yearlong missions.

The astronauts logged 157 million miles. They circled the world nearly 6,000 times!

The heart of man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps. — Proverbs 16:9