Russian Cosmonaut Oleg Kononenko Makes History By Spending 878 Days In Space The Highest For Any Human

Roscosmos cosmonaut Oleg Kononenko has made history by spending a total of over 878 days in space, the highest for any human. The 59-year-old Russian cosmonaut beat Gennady Ivanovich Padalka, a Roscosmos cosmonaut who had spent 878 days, 11 hours, 29 minutes, and 48 seconds in space over the course of five different missions, from 1998 to 2015. At 11:30 am Moscow time (2 pm IST) on February 4, Kononenko set the record for the highest time spent in space by any human, Russian news agency TASS reported. Kononenko spent the highest number of days in space not during a single mission, but over the course of five different missions. 

His first mission to the International Space Station (ISS) was Soyuz TMA-12. He reached the ISS on October 24, 2008, and spent 199 days in space. His second mission was launched on December 21, 2011, the third on July 22, 2015, and the fourth on December 3, 2018.

Kononenko’s fifth mission to the ISS launched in September 2023, and is called Soyuz MS-24. He is currently in space, and a part of Expedition 71. The cosmonaut is a flight engineer on the space station. If he spends 300-365 days in space as part of the Soyuz MS-24 mission, he will have spent a total of 1,036 to 1,101 days in space.

On June 5, 2024, Kononenko is expected to become the first person to spend 1,000 days in space at one stretch, according to a Reuters report. 

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In a TASS interview from the space station, Kononenko said he flies to space to do his favourite thing, and not to set records. 

According to the Reuters report, Kononenko said he counters the physical effects of weightlessness by working out regularly. He said that while the inhabitants of the space station can contact their family members from space through video conferencing, the preparation for spaceflight has become more complicated due to technological advances. 

The cross-flight programme between NASA and Roscosmos to the space station has been extended till 2025.

ALSO READ | Russian Cosmonaut Oleg Kononenko Makes History By Spending Over 878 Days In Space, The Highest For Any Human

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