Russian Cosmonaut Kononenko Breaks Own Record With 1K Days Spent in Space

Russian cosmonaut Oleg Kononenko surpassed his own record for total time spent in space after he logged 1,000 days in Earth’s orbit on Wednesday, according to the Russian space agency Roscosmos.

Kononenko, 59, became the world record holder in February when he overtook fellow Russian cosmonaut Gennady Padalka by spending 879 consecutive days in space. He is currently on his fifth space flight and will tally 1,110 days in orbit by Sept. 23, when he is due to return to Earth.

“Today at 00:00:20 Moscow time, Roscosmos cosmonaut Oleg Kononenko for the first time in world history spent a total of 1,000 days in space flight,” the Russian space agency wrote on Telegram.

The astronauts and cosmonauts on board the International Space Station (ISS) celebrated the milestone by lining up for a photo in the shape of three zeros behind Kononenko to make the number 1,000.

Kononenko said his U.S. colleagues on board the ISS and NASA’s mission control center in Houston were the first to congratulate him on setting the spaceflight record.

The ISS is a rare area for continued cooperation between Washington and Moscow amid an all-time low in relations following the full-scale invasion of Ukraine.

Kononenko said the long time he will have spent in Earth orbit will have practical applications in space medicine advancements for future interplanetary travel.

“Long-term flights expand the understanding of human capabilities that you need to know. After all, eventually, humanity will begin to perform interplanetary flights,” Kononenko told the state-run news agency TASS.

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