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Three astronauts return to Earth after over a year in space

On terra firma again

American Frank Rubio sets NASA record with trio stuck aboard the ISS for 191 days more than intended due to damaged return capsule

Two Russian cosmonauts and an American astronaut arrived back on Earth on Wednesday after being stuck on the International Space Station for over a year.

The trio was stranded on the Space Station for 191 more days than was planned, due to their original return capsule getting damaged by space junk while docking on the ISS in March.

Russians Sergey Prokopyev and Dmitri Petelin, and American Frank Rubio’s ISS mission was originally planned for 180 days.

ISS commander Andreas Mogensen of Denmark gave the trio praise and said that “no one deserves to go home to their families more than you.”

Their replacement Soyuz-model return capsule touched down in the remote steppes of Kazakhstan, allowing the trio to take their first breaths of fresh air in over a year.

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Rubio’s first words to reporters after returning to Earth were, “It’s good to be home.”

Rubio now holds the NASA record for consecutive days in space, with 371, passing the previous record by two weeks. The world record is held by Russian Valery Polyakov, who made a 437-day spaceflight in the mid-1990s.

The new NASA record holder said to reporters before departing the ISS last week that he would probably not have agreed to spending over a year on the space station if he had the chance.

He remarked that he had missed out on important family events and that the emotional toll of such a long stay on the ISS was greater than he had anticipated.