American astronaut Frank Rubio reflects on 371 days spent in space


Published: 2023-10-14 10:10

Last Updated: 2023-11-17 12:36

American astronaut Frank Rubio reflects on 371 days spent in space
American astronaut Frank Rubio reflects on 371 days spent in space

Astronaut Frank Rubio spent 371 days in space, setting a record for an American astronaut. He returned to Earth on September 21, 2022 after completing 5,936 orbits around the Earth and traveling 252 million kilometers.

Rubio spoke about getting used to being back on Earth again saying: "I don't think I'm back to 100 percent. I'd say probably 80 to 90 percent, which I think is actually pretty good. But like the bottoms of my feet are still sore from just standing and walking. Again, my lower back still a little bit sore. So that's those things are not fully resolved yet. So I can't say that I'm 100 percent. But I am 100 percent as far as vertigo goes. When I'm driving, there's no sort of disorientation everything feels perfectly normal. I've been able to jog, and it feels fine."

"The thing that was drawing me back home was family and missing family. But on the flip side of that is the thing that grounded me the most and allowed me to perform was family. Just having that foundation and that love and that support, I think allowed me to actually do a better job for the time that I was there," he explained.

He also said: "When you look at our planet, and you realize how perfectly it works to keep, you know, all 9 billion of us alive, it's pretty incredible. And so it really gives you an appreciation to say, hey, not only do we need to take care of it, but we need to take care of it in a way that ensures that our kids and our grandkids are going to have a good future."

-Losing a tomato-

He shared one story saying: "We were growing some of the first tomatoes. I harvested, I think, what was the first tomato in space, and I put it in a little bag. And one of my crewmates was doing a PAO event with some school kids and I thought it'd be kind of cool to show the kids : “Hey, guys, this is the first tomato harvested in space”. And then I was pretty confident that I've velcroed where I was supposed to Velcro it. And then I came back and it was gone. And I mean, I spent probably eight to 20 hours of my own time looking for that tomato. Unfortunately, you know, because that's just human nature, a lot of people are like : 'He probably ate the tomato.'"

"I never found it. The reality is that probably you know, the humidity up there is 70 percent. And so it was probably desiccated to the point where you couldn't tell what it was and somebody just threw away the bag, thinking it was trash. And so a proud moment of harvesting the first tomato in space became a self-inflicted wound of like losing the first tomato in space. But hopefully somebody will find it someday."