A Russian cosmonaut has set a new record for the most time in space after spending nearly two and a half years cumulatively on the ISS.
Russian cosmonaut Oleg Kononenko has broken the world record for the most cumulative time spent in space, Russia’s space agency Roscosmos reported on Sunday.
The 59-year-old has now spent more than 878 days and 12 hours in space, surpassing fellow Russian Gennady Padalka, who set the previous record of 878 days, 11 hours, 29 minutes, and 48 seconds in 2015.
Kononenko has made five journeys to the International Space Station (ISS), dating back to 2008.
Speaking with Russian state news agency TASS, the engineer said that each trip to the ISS required careful preparation due to the station’s constant upgrades – but that life as a cosmonaut was a childhood dream come true.
“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,” he told TASS.
Kononenko’s current trip to the ISS began on September 15, 2023, when he launched alongside NASA astronaut Loral O’Hara and Roscosmos compatriot Nikolai Chub.
By the end of this expedition, the cosmonaut is expected to become the first person to accumulate 1,000 days in space.
The International Space Station is one of the few areas in which the United States and Russia still cooperate closely following Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine in February 2022.
Roscosmos announced in December that its cross-flight programme with NASA transporting astronauts to the ISS had been extended until 2025.