Frank Rubio: the first Salvadoran-born astronaut to travel to the Space Station

"I'm the son of a teenage single mother, there was never the option to feel sorry for ourselves or use it as an excuse."

Frank Rubio is the first astronaut of Salvadoran origin to travel to the International Space Station (ISS). The NASA astronaut will travel this Wednesday aboard the Russian Soyuz MS-22 spacecraft.

Rubio was born in California in December 1975 but is the son of Salvadoran parents. A few days ago he thanked his family, "who all these years supported me and made sacrifices to make this possible."

Frank Rubio's story

In a video presentation by the U.S. agency, Frank Rubio recounted: "I am the result of many sacrifices and fantastic teams. I am the son of a teenage single mother, there was never the option of feeling sorry for ourselves or using it as an excuse. It was simply: Hey you can do better, you can get ahead by working hard, studying hard."

He is currently married and the father of four children. Rubio confessed that he joined the Army in 1998 in order to pay for his university studies.

Frank Rubio graduated from the Military Academy, earning a Doctor of Medicine degree (MD), from the Uniformed Services University of Health Sciences in 2010, he then became a flight surgeon at Redstone Arsenal, Alabama. He later earned his helicopter pilot certification and flew more than 1,100 hours, including more than 600 combat hours during deployments to Bosnia, Afghanistan and Iraq.

In 2017 Rubio made the decision to apply to join NASA to become an astronaut. He was one of 12 selected among some 18,000 applicants.

The space mission

Frank Rubio will be accompanied to the International Space Station by Russian astronauts Sergey Prokopiev and Sergey Petelin, with whom he plans to conduct five spacewalks, during these walks, they will work on integrating the multifunctional laboratory module of the ISS with the rest of the orbital platform.

"For me, everything will be interesting in space, and of course, every 90 minutes we will observe the Earth," he said at a press conference organized by the Russian space agency Roscosmos prior to the launch.

"I am very excited. Our work is the result of many years of intense effort, and when I found out I would be flying I felt like a little kid," he added.

The astronaut said he was proud of the work of his instructors and flight preparation specialists.