A Russian cosmonaut has set a new record for the longest time spent in space after spending a total of almost two and a half years on the ISS.
Russian cosmonaut Oleg Kononenko has broken the world record for the longest time spent in space, the Russian space agency Roscosmos said on Sunday.
The 59-year-old has spent more than 878 days and 12 hours in space, surpassing his Russian colleague Gennady Padalka, who set the previous record of 878 days, 11 hours, 29 minutes and 48 seconds in 2015.
Kononenko has made five trips to the International Space Station (ISS), starting in 2008.
Speaking to 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 in space to do what I love, not to set records. I have dreamed and aspired to be a cosmonaut since I was a child. That interest – the opportunity to fly in space, to live and work in orbit – motivates me to continue flying,” he told TASS.
Kononenko’s current journey to the ISS began on September 15, 2023, when he launched alongside NASA astronaut Loral O’Hara and Roscosmos compatriot Nikolai Chub.
It is expected that by the end of this expedition the cosmonaut will become the first person to accumulate 1,000 days in space.
The International Space Station is one of the few areas where the United States and Russia still collaborate closely following Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine in February 2022.
Roscosmos announced in December that its cross-flight program with NASA that carries astronauts to the ISS had been extended until 2025.