Russian cosmonaut Oleg Kononenko has achieved a remarkable milestone, setting a new world record for the most time spent in space.
Oleg Kononenko, aged 59, surpassed the record for cumulative time spent in space, logging over 878 days and 12 hours in the Earth’s orbit. This achievement, equivalent to almost two-and-a-half years, marks a significant milestone in Kononenko’s illustrious career. He emphasizes that his passion for space exploration and the joy of living and working in orbit continue to motivate his endeavours.
The cosmonaut, currently on his fifth journey to the ISS since 2008, expressed his pride, stating, “I am proud of all my achievements, but I am more proud that a Russian cosmonaut still holds the record for the total duration of human stay in space.” Kononenko is expected to reach a remarkable 1,000 days in space on June 5, with plans to extend his time to 1,110 days by late September.
Sharing insights into his space experiences, Kononenko highlights the significance of video calls with family and regular exercise to combat feelings of deprivation and isolation. However, he acknowledges the poignant realization that, during his absence, his children have been growing up without their father.
Kononenko’s accomplishment follows in the footsteps of pioneering cosmonauts like Yuri Gagarin, the first man in space, in 1961. This record surpasses the previous milestone of fellow Russian cosmonaut Gennady Padalka in 2015, demonstrating Russia’s ongoing commitment to space exploration.
Despite geopolitical tensions, the ISS remains a symbol of international collaboration, with Russia and the United States continuing their cooperation in space exploration. Russia’s space agency, Roscosmos, has extended its cross-flight program with NASA to the ISS until 2025, emphasizing the enduring partnership between the two nations in this groundbreaking endeavour.
As Oleg Kononenko adds his name to the annals of space exploration history, his achievement highlights the enduring spirit of human curiosity and the ongoing quest for excellence in space exploration.