Sergei Prokopyev, the commander of the space station, along with his two crew members, Dmitri Petelin and Frank Rubio, prepared on Tuesday for their return to Earth on Wednesday. This will mark the end of their 371-day stay in orbit, which sets a record for the longest flight in U.S. space history.
In September 2022, the trio embarked on their mission and anticipated a six-month stay on the International Space Station, which is the typical length for a long-term crew rotation.
However, in December, the Soyuz MS-22/68S ferry ship was rendered inoperable due to a coolant leak, causing the Russians to retrieve all of their notifications and comments.
The Soyuz MS-23/69S mission was completed in February of last year. As a result, Prokopyev, Petelin, and Rubio had to remain in space for an extra six months in order to reset the schedule for rotating Russian crew members.
Mogensen traveled by plane to the station.aboard a SpaceX Crew Dragon spacecraft along with NASA’s Jasmin Moghbeli, Japanese astronaut Satoshi Furukawa and cosmonaut Konstantin Borisov.
Prokopyev, Petelin, and Rubio are scheduled to say goodbye to their seven fellow crew members on Tuesday evening. They will then enter the Soyuz MS-23/69S spacecraft, which will serve as their replacement, and wait for their departure from the Prichal module, a multi-port structure on the Russian segment of the International Space Station.
If the touchdown occurs on schedule, the team will have spent a total of 370 days, 21 hours, and 22 minutes away from Earth, completing 5,936 orbits and traveling a distance of 157 million miles. Prokopyev’s combined duration in space for both of his flights will add up to 568 days.
Valery Polyakov, a cosmonaut who passed away, currently holds the record for the longest single spaceflight. He spent 438 days on the Russian Mir space station in 1994-1995. Prokopyev, Petelin, and Rubio will soon rank as the third longest spaceflight, following retired cosmonaut Sergei Avdeyev’s 380-day mission on Mir in 1998-1999.
In 2021-22, Mark Vande Hei spent a total of 355 days on the International Space Station, making it the longest U.S. flight to date.