A record ride: Soyuz MS-23 trio return to Earth after a year in orbit
Two Russian cosmonauts and a NASA astronaut returned to Earth after a 371-day stay in space — the third longest mission in human spaceflight history.
Russia’s Sergey Prokopyev, Dmitry Petelin and NASA’s Frank Rubio landed in their Soyuz MS-23 capsule at 7:17 a.m. EDT (11:17 UTC) Sept. 27 on the Steppe of Kazakhstan after spending more than a year living aboard the International Space Station. The trio launched to the space station Sept. 21, 2022. However, their mission was extended by six months after the spacecraft they launched with, Soyuz MS-22, had to be replaced following a coolant leak resulting from a likely micrometeoroid impact.
Rubio broke the previous duration record for a NASA astronaut set by Mark Vande Hei by 16 days and is the first American to spend more than a year in orbit for a single mission. Prokopyev, Petelin and Rubio now also hold the record for the longest serving crew aboard the ISS.
Only two other people have had longer spaceflights — both aboard the Mir space station: Sergei Avdeyev for 379.6 days in 1998/1999 and Valeri Polyakov for 437.7 days in 1994/1995.
The original planned crew for Soyuz MS-23 was bumped to Soyuz MS-24, which launched to the ISS Sept. 15 with Russian cosmonauts Oleg Kononenko, Nikolai Chub and NASA’s Loral O’Hara.
The two cosmonauts are expected to remain in orbit until next September, returning in Soyuz MS-25. O’Hara will return with a short-duration crew in Soyuz MS-24 in March 2024.
Also aboard the ISS are the four members of the SpaceX Crew-7 mission: NASA astronaut Jasmin Moghbeli, European Space Agency astronaut Andreas Mogensen, Japanese astronaut Satoshi Furukawa and Russian cosmonaut Konstantin Borisov. They arrived at the outpost in late August, also for a six-month stay.
Together, the seven people still aboard the ISS make up Expedition 70, commanded by Mogensen, which officially began when Soyuz MS-23 undocked from the station’s Prichal module at around 3:54 a.m. EDT (07:54 UTC).
Video courtesy of NASA
Derek Richardson has a degree in mass media, with an emphasis in contemporary journalism, from Washburn University in Topeka, Kansas. While at Washburn, he was the managing editor of the student run newspaper, the Washburn Review. He also has a website about human spaceflight called Orbital Velocity. You can find him on twitter @TheSpaceWriter.