(WPRI) — NASA Astronaut Frank Rubio is celebrating a year orbiting Earth.

Last week, Rubio set a new U.S. record for the longest continuous amount of time in space, surpassing retired astronaut Mark Vande Hei’s previous record of 355 consecutive days.

“Of course, it’s amazing to be in space, but more than anything you feel very proud to do things that will help all of humanity,” Rubio said.

However, Rubio’s mission wasn’t supposed to last this long: He was forced to spend an extra six months aboard the International Space Station after a coolant leak on the Russian spacecraft that was supposed to carry him back home.

Rubio is set to return to Earth on Sept. 27, after a total of 371 days in space.

“I think the thing that I will remember the most are my crewmates. I’ve been lucky enough to fly with four different crews by the time I leave. The teams that we’ve worked with on the ground have been phenomenal,” Rubio said. “So, like a lot of things in life that have tremendous experiences, what you end up remembering the most are the people, and that’s been the case absolutely up here.”

The U.S. Army lieutenant colonel and board-certified family physician is the first astronaut of Salvadoran origin to go to space.

“It really is a great pride to be a part of a large community of many Hispanics who can inspire our future generations, and especially with a team that can inspire young ones to find science,” Rubio said in a video posted to X, the site formerly known as Twitter.

Last week, he and fellow astronaut Jasmin Moghbeli went live from the International Space Station to answer questions from Rhode Island students. Learn more about that story on WPRI.com.