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Frank Rubio becomes the twelfth Hispanic astronaut to visit the International Space Station

Moscow, September 21 (EFE).- Salvadoran-born American astronaut Frank Rubio today became the twelfth Hispanic to arrive at the International Space Station (ISS) and did so aboard a Russian Soyuz ship , In addition, the resumption of cross-flights between the United States and Russia in full tension due to the military campaign in Ukraine. The Soyuz, named KETsiolkovsky in honor of the 165th birthday of the founder of theoretical cosmonautics Konstantin Tsiolkovsky, was launched at 13:54 GMT from the Baikonur cosmodrome in the Kazakh steppe, as scheduled. With Rubio, a flight engineer, Russian cosmonauts Sergei Prokopiev, commander of ISS Tribulation 68, and Sergei Petelin travel in space. After a three-hour trip and two orbits around Earth, the Soyuz will dock with the Russian module of the ISS Rassvet and about two hours later the hatches between the spacecraft and the station will be opened. The trio will join Expedition 67 Commander Oleg Artemiev, cosmonauts Denis Matveyev and Sergei Korsakov, as well as NASA astronauts Bob Hines, Kjell Lindgren and Jessica Watkins, and European Space Agency (ESA) astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti. THE TWELFTH HISPANIC AND THE FIRST SALVADORIAN Rubio, the first astronaut of Salvadoran origin to travel in space, succeeds Ellen Ochoa of Mexican origin in the exploit of the Hispanics who set foot on the ISS; Miguel López-Alegría, born in Madrid; Carlos Noriega, of Peruvian origin; Franklin Chang-Díaz, American-Costa Rican; Spaniard Pedro Duque and Marcos Pontes from Brazil; and John D. “Danny” Olivas, of Mexican descent. Colombian-American George Zamka also flew to the international orbital platform; Puerto Rican-born Joseph “Joe” Hace; José Hernández, of Mexican origin, and Serena Auñón-Chancellor, Cuban-American. Rubio, 46, expressed before flying into space his “great pride” in being able to represent not only his country, the United States, but also that of his family in El Salvador, where his mother lives, Myrna Argueta, and where he spent the first six years of his life. This is the NASA astronaut’s first flight since he was selected by the US space agency in 2017. For five years he has been preparing to fly in space, and the last two specifically for this mission, for which he flew in an airplane. supersonic T-38 on a regular basis and enter the Russian and American centrifuges. GREAT EXPECTATIONS “For me, everything will be interesting in space. And of course, every 90 minutes we will observe the Earth,” he said the day before at a press conference in Baikonur. Rubio, Prokópiev and Petelin will spend six months aboard the orbital platform, during which there will be five spacewalks and research on microgravity and its impact on the human body, as well as experiments related to ability to make human organs. . The NASA astronaut, married to Deborah Rubio, with whom he has four teenage children, said on Tuesday he was looking forward to the opportunity to perform a spacewalk. “I will watch the darkness of the cosmos with special attention and enjoy the view of the stars,” he said. Rubio, who was born in Los Angeles but considers himself a Miami native, graduated from the United States Military Academy at West Point and received his MD from Uniformed Services University of Health Sciences in Bethesda ( Maryland). Prior to medical school, he served as a UH-60 Blackhawk helicopter pilot and logged over 1,100 hours of flight time, including over 600 hours of limited combat and near-danger deployments in Bosnia, Afghanistan and Iraq. Rubio is a board-certified family physician and flight surgeon. FRIENDSHIP AMID TENSIONS This mission opens a new series of cross-flights with the participation of crew members from the Russian space agency, Roscosmos, on the American Crew Dragon ships and NASA astronauts on Russian Soyuz amid tensions between the two space powers for Russia’s military campaign in Ukraine. Rubio admitted a month ago from Russia to discussing “very briefly” with Petelin and Prokopiev what is currently happening in Ukraine, but immediately stressed that in his opinion “it is important to focus on the mission and develop the confidence we need as a team.” “We try to avoid anything that might affect this camaraderie and focus on safely accomplishing this mission by supporting each other up there,” he added. In early October, the launch of the Crew Dragon will take place with Russian cosmonaut Anna Kíkina, as well as American astronauts Nicole Mann, Josh Cassada and Japanese astronaut Koichi Wakata. The agreement was signed last July and initially provides for the exchange of three seats on the Soyuz and the Crew Dragon, but the space agency Roscosmos does not rule out extending it. In Rubio’s opinion, “it is important that, when there are moments of possible tension in other areas, spaceflight and exploration continue to be a form of diplomacy and alliance between the NASA and Roscosmos, where we can find common ground to achieve great things together.” (c) EFE Agency

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