Salvadoran-American Astronaut Frank Rubio Returns From Space — ‘I Was Missing My Family’
In fact, Rubio’s mission aboard the Russian Soyuz MS-23 capsule is the longest a United States astronaut has ever spent in orbit. As you can expect, the Salvadoran-American space explorer was relieved and happy to be back: “It’s good to be home.”
Rubio and his two fellow astronauts on the mission, Sergey Prokopyev and Dmitri Petelin, were not initially meant to spend 371 days in the cosmos. As per CNN, the mission was meant to last six months, but a coolant leak in their original spaceship changed their plans.
Because their initial spacecraft, Soyuz MS-22, could no longer bring the astronauts back, experts on Earth worked overtime. Eventually, they launched Soyuz MS-23, and Rubio, Prokopyev and Petelin could return to gravity safe and sound.
Rubio said that the year-long mission made him miss key moments with his family. “If I had known that I would have had to miss those very important events, I just would have had to say, ‘thank you, but no thank you,'” he said.
Still, he also said he brought one special thing back from space: “A good mood.”
This is what Rubio was most excited about upon his return to Earth
While Rubio was happy “everybody did really well” aboard the spacecraft, the mission was arduous. As per the BBC, long missions like these may diminish astronauts’ muscle and bone mass, decrease eyesight, and even affect gut bacteria.
Upon landing in Kazakhstan on Wednesday, Rubio explained, “It just takes some time to get your bones and your muscles used to doing that consistently back on Earth.”
“It’ll be anywhere from two to six months before I essentially say that I feel normal,” he added. “It’s a couple of months to regain your strength. Our trainers do a great job of keeping us in shape up here. But the reality is we’re not standing, we’re not walking, we’re not bearing our own weight.”
While Rubio and his peers spent 371 days in space, they also traveled an incredible (possibly dizzying) 5,936 orbits and 157 million miles.
After such an incredible voyage, though, all Rubio wished was to hug his family. He told New York Times, “For me, honestly, obviously, hugging my wife and kids is going to be paramount, and I’ll probably focus on that for the first couple days.”
While the Salvadoran-American astronaut described the voyage as “fantastic,” he missed his loved ones
During a press conference after landing back on Earth, Rubio was honest about how much he missed his wife and four children.
The Los Angeles-born astronaut, flight surgeon, helicopter pilot, and US Army lieutenant colonel admitted the experience was “tough.”
As reported by CBS, Rubio described, “On a personal level, it was pretty tough, just because I was missing my family.”
“I knew I was going to miss some pretty big milestones, for my kids, especially,” he explained. “Birthdays, anniversaries, my son’s going to head off to college this year, my oldest daughter is finishing up her first year of college.”
However, both Rubio and his family stayed strong, even in the face of challenges — primarily, staying in space six months more than planned. “We’ve tried really hard to stay in touch with one another,” the astronaut said. “My wife, my kids, they’ve been troopers, and they’ve really handled it incredibly well.” Go, Rubio family!
In fact, the 47-year-old space traveler said that his family handled it all so well, it made it “easier” on him. He could “focus on work and make do with with the hand [they were] dealt.”
And while he was really pumped to hug his wife and kids, Rubio was also very excited about one more thing: silence. He explained, “Up [in space], we kind of have the constant hum of machinery… So I’m looking forward to just being outside and enjoying the peace and quiet.”
His peaceful place of choice? His backyard. “I think just going out in the yard and enjoying the trees and the silence,” he said.
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