NASA astronaut Frank Rubio and two Russian cosmonauts undocked from the Worldwide House Station and plunged again to Earth early Wednesday, touchdown on the steppe of Kazakhstan to shut out an surprising yearlong keep in area, the longest single flight in U.S. area historical past.
With Soyuz MS-69/23S commander Sergey Prokopyev monitoring cockpit shows, flanked on the left by co-pilot Dmitri Petelin and on the suitable by NASA flight engineer Frank Rubio, the Russian ferry ship undocked from the area station’s multi-port Prichal module at 3:54 a.m. EDT.
After backing a secure distance away from the lab and ready to succeed in the exact level in area to start the descent, the spacecraft fired its braking rockets for 4 minutes and 39 seconds beginning at 6:24 a.m., slowing the ship’s 17,100-mph velocity by about 286 mph.
That was simply sufficient to drop the far facet of the orbit deep into the environment, placing the ship on the right track for the focused touchdown website.
After separating from the higher orbital compartment and decrease propulsion and energy module, the central crew compartment, the one one protected by a warmth protect, hit the highest of the discernible environment, 62 miles up, at 6:55 a.m. and landed close to the city of Dzhezkazgan at 7:17 a.m. (5:17 p.m. native time).
“All people did rather well,” Rubio mentioned. “It’s good to be dwelling.”
Unofficial mission period: 370 days, 21 hours and 22 minutes in a voyage spanning 5,936 orbits and 157 million miles.
Requested earlier about what he seemed ahead to essentially the most as soon as again on Earth, Rubio, a father of 4, mentioned “hugging my spouse and children goes to be paramount. And I’ll in all probability concentrate on that for the primary couple days.”
“We’re blessed sufficient to have type of a quiet yard,” he added. “And I believe simply going out within the yard and having fun with the bushes and the silence. Up right here, we type of have the fixed hum of equipment. … So I’m trying ahead to simply being exterior and having fun with the peace and quiet.”
Russian restoration crews, together with U.S. flight surgeons and help personnel, had been standing by on the Soyuz touchdown website to assist the returning crew out of the cramped respectable module as their our bodies start re-adjusting to unfamiliar pressure of gravity after a full yr in weightlessness.
Like all long-duration station crew members, all three males spent about two hours per day exercising to remain in the perfect form potential. Even so, Rubio mentioned it possible will take them a number of months to get their land legs again.
“Your vestibular system might be essentially the most affected,” he mentioned. “After which after that, actually, it’s a few months to regain your energy. Our trainers do an excellent job of conserving us in form up right here. However the actuality is we’re not standing, we’re not strolling, we’re not bearing our personal weight.
“And so it simply takes a while to get your bones and your muscle mass used to doing that constantly again on Earth. So it’ll be anyplace from two to 6 months earlier than I primarily say that I really feel regular.”
The late cosmonaut Valery Polyakov holds the world report for the longest single spaceflight, a 438-day keep aboard the Russian Mir area station in 1994-95. Prokopyev, Petelin and Rubio are actually third on the listing, simply behind retired cosmonaut Sergei Avdeyev, who logged a 380-day stint aboard Mir in 1998-99.
The longest earlier U.S. flight was carried out by Mark Vande Hei, who spent 355 days aboard the Worldwide House Station in 2021-22.
After preliminary medical checks on the touchdown website, the Soyuz crew had been to be flown by helicopter to the town of Karaganda the place Rubio will board a NASA Gulfstream jet for the lengthy flight again to the Johnson House Heart in Houston. The cosmonauts will likely be flown to Star Metropolis close to Moscow aboard a Russian jet.
When Rubio and his cosmonaut crewmates launched on Sept. 21, 2022, they anticipated to spend six months aboard the Worldwide House Station, the conventional tour of obligation for a long-duration crew.
However a coolant leak disabled their Soyuz MS-22/68S ferry ship final December, prompting the Russians to launch a substitute — Soyuz MS-23/69S — final February. That meant Prokopyev, Petelin and Rubio needed to keep aloft an extra six months to place the Russian crew-rotation schedule again on monitor.
“On a private stage, it was fairly robust, simply because I used to be lacking my household and I knew I used to be going to overlook some fairly large milestones, for my children, particularly,” Rubio mentioned in an interview from orbit with The Related Press.
“Birthdays, anniversaries, my son’s going to go off to varsity this yr, my oldest daughter is ending up her first yr of faculty,” he added. “We’ve tried actually laborious to remain in contact with each other. … My spouse, my children, they’ve been troopers, they usually’ve actually dealt with it extremely properly.
“And the way properly they’ve dealt with it has made it simpler for me to simply concentrate on work and make do with with the hand we’ve been dealt.”
Throughout a short change-of-command ceremony Tuesday, ISS Expedition 69 commander Prokopyev turned the lab over to European House Company astronaut Andreas Mogensen.
Talking to the departing crew members, Mogensen provided congratulations, saying “you will have proven resilience, professionalism and charm within the face of surprising challenges and vital uncertainty.”
“It’s one factor to launch to area, realizing that you just’re going to be up right here for a yr,” he added. “It’s a very completely different factor for you and your households to seek out out in the direction of the tip of your six-month mission that you just’re going to be spending an extra six months in area. However you took it upon your shoulders, and also you excelled.”
He thanked Prokopyev, Petelin and Rubio for his or her “competence, dedication and laborious work” conserving the station shipshape and “setting us up for achievement” in ISS Expedition 70.
“We hope to depart the area station is pretty much as good as situation as we discovered it,” Mogensen concluded. “Nobody deserves to go dwelling to their households greater than you.”
Prokopyev, Petelin and Rubio had been changed by Soyuz MS-24/70S commander Oleg Kononenko, flight engineer Nicolai Chub and NASA astronaut Loral O’Hara, who arrived on the area station on Sept. 15.
Mogensen flew to the station final month aboard a SpaceX Crew Dragon spacecraft together with NASA’s Jasmin Moghbeli, Japanese astronaut Satoshi Furukawa and cosmonaut Konstantin Borisov.