Three astronauts return to Earth safely, completing 371 day mission

One American, Frank Rubio, and two Russians, Sergey Prokopyev and Dmitri Petelin, early today safely returned to Earth in their Russian Soyuz capsule, completing the longest mission yet on ISS, 371 days, and the third longest human mission ever.

The mission was the longest by accident. It was originally supposed to be a standard six month tour, but was extended to a year when the Soyuz capsule they came in developed a leak in its coolant system and had to be replaced.

The previous record for an American in space of 355 days was set by Mark Vande Hei last year. This new year-long mission is only exceeded by two Russian missions on Mir, Valeri Polykov’s 439 day mission in 1994-1995, and Sergei Avdeyev’s 381 day mission in 1998-1999.