Four astronauts currently aboard the International Space Station (ISS) have achieved a new record as they have now spent the most days spent in space by a crew launched by a United States spacecraft.
SpaceX Mission Breaks Record
The record-breaking astronauts are veterans from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), namely Victor Glover, Mike Hopkins, Shannon Walker, and Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency's (JAXA) Soichi Noguchi, who arrived on the ISS on November 16, 2020, aboard the "Resilience" Crew Dragon spacecraft made by the private company owned by multi-billionaire Elon Musk, SpaceX.
The spacecraft is currently docked in the station's Harmony module.
According to Digital Trends, the crew has now lasted 84 days aboard the orbiting outpost and will continue with their mission.
The crew has broken the record held for a long time of the cosmonauts that were sent to the now-decommissioned Skylab satellite via an Apollo spacecraft on February 8, 1974.
To celebrate the new record, the space residents got a chance to have a chat via Zoom with Edward Gibson, the only remaining survivor of the Skylab 4 mission, with Glover sharing pictures of the faithful virtual meeting on his official Twitter account.
On our 84th day in space Crew-1 extends the record for most days in space for a U.S. human space capsule. Originally set in 1973-74 by the Skylab 4 crew of Gerald Carr, Edward Gibson and William Pogue. Today we had the honor of speaking with Ed. pic.twitter.com/4olxP1CPFv— Victor Glover (@AstroVicGlover) February 7, 2021
Holding the Record for 40 Years
Based on the report, there appears to be a couple of reasons why the record was held for four decades despite continuous space missions.
Firstly, the Apollo spacecraft that brought astronauts to space from 1981 to 2011 typically lasted for short periods, with the STS-80 in November of 1996 as its longest mission, lasting for only 17.5 days before returning to Earth.
Moreover, the Space Shuttle program was the United States' only means to bring astronauts to space, so when it ended, NASA missions were forced to use Russia's Soyuz spacecraft.
Nevertheless, the arrival of Musk's SpaceX agency, with its Crew Dragon spacecraft, has brought new hope of bringing American spacemen and women to space with a US-made spacecraft, but the SpaceX missions had only started in 2020, and the current "Resilience" crew is only its second manned mission.
The SpaceX astronauts will be returning to Earth on Apr. 18, continuing their current streak as most days in space via a US spacecraft.
A Sight in Tampa and Space Record Holders
According to the NASA blog, the 84th day of the four ISS residents not only called for the celebration of the new record but was also a special day for Super Bowl fans as the orbiting space station was visible in Tampa, Florida skies this Sunday, Feb. 7, at 7:15 p.m.
Sure enough, this was not the first time an astronaut had stayed in space for an extended period of time.
Among the record holders is Russian cosmonaut Valery Polyakov, who stayed in space for almost 438 consecutive days on the Mir space station from 1994 to 1995, while American astronaut Scott Kelly holds the record for the longest times spent in space at any one time for a total of 340 days back in a 2015 to 2016 NASA mission.
Meanwhile, NASA astronaut Christina Koch holds the record for most days spent in space by a woman with 328 days aboard the ISS from 2019 to 2020.
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Written by: Nhx Tingson