Russian cosmonaut Oleg Kononenko has achieved a world record for the most cumulative time spent in space, surpassing the previous record set by fellow Russian Gennady Padalka in 2015. Kononenko, aged 59, has now spent over 878 days and 12 hours in space. This achievement comes during his fifth journey to the International Space Station (ISS), dating back to 2008. Kononenko’s current trip to the ISS began on September 15, 2023, and he is expected to become the first person to accumulate 1,000 days in space by the end of this expedition.
In an interview with Russian state news agency TASS, Kononenko emphasized that each trip to the ISS requires careful preparation due to the constant upgrades to the station. However, he expressed that being a cosmonaut and flying into space fulfills a childhood dream. He stated, “I fly into space to do what I love, not to set records. I’ve dreamt of and aspired to become a cosmonaut since I was a child. That interest—the opportunity to fly into space, to live and work in orbit—motivates me to continue flying.”
The International Space Station remains a key area of cooperation between the United States and Russia despite geopolitical tensions. Roscosmos, Russia’s space agency, announced in December that its cross-flight program with NASA, involving the transportation of astronauts to the ISS, has been extended until 2025. Kononenko’s record-breaking achievement underscores the ongoing contributions of international astronauts to space exploration and collaboration aboard the ISS.