Around the World (literally!)
We use the expressions “out of town” and “out of the country” when we are away from home. For a year, U.S. astronaut Mark Vande Hei could say he was “out of the world!” He set the U.S. record for time in space after completing 5,680 trips around the earth over a span of 355 consecutive days.
From April 2021, until March 2022, he was continually at the International Space Station (ISS) performing various experiments. He also escorted a Russian film crew who made the first movie filmed in space. He participated in a scientific study to determine the effects on the body of prolonged time in space. In total, Vande Hei has spent more than 523 days in space on his multiple missions.
Another U.S. astronaut, Frank Rubio, will break Vande Hei’s record this September. His six-month stay at the ISS was extended to at least 371 days when his scheduled return vehicle was damaged.* He will have to wait for a replacement ride. The individual world record for time in space is still held by the late Russian cosmonaut, Valeri Polyakov, who spent 437 continuous days aboard the Mir space station, from 1994 to 1995.
Sources: World Magazine, April 23, 2022, page 16. “Vision Checks, Communications Hardware Installs, and Rubio’s 300th Day in Space,” NASA.gov, retrieved 7/20/2023, (https://blogs.nasa.gov/spacestation/2023/07/18/). “Frank Rubio’s first spaceflight will turn into the longest mission by a US astronaut,” CNN.com, retrieved 7/20/2023 (https://www.cnn.com/2023/03/29/world/longest-stay-in-space-nasa-frank-rubio-scn/)
- On Wednesday, September 27, Rubio returned safely to earth after spending 371 days in orbit, extending the record of the longest single spaceflight by an American. (Source: NASA, retrieved October 12, 2023.)