Russian cosmonaut becomes first person to spend 1,000 days in space

Russian cosmonaut Oleg Kononenko attends a news conference at the Russian leased Baikonur Cosmodrome, in Kazakhstan, July 21, 2015. /AP

Russian cosmonaut Oleg Kononenko attends a news conference at the Russian leased Baikonur Cosmodrome, in Kazakhstan, July 21, 2015. /AP

A 59-year-old Russian cosmonaut has become the first person to spend 1,000 days in space, Russian space agency Roscosmos said Wednesday.

Oleg Kononenko achieved the milestone on Tuesday, having made five journeys to the International Space Station (ISS) dating back to 2008.

His current trip to the ISS began on September 15, 2023, when he was launched alongside NASA astronaut Loral O’Hara and compatriot Nikolai Chub.

Kononenko first set the cumulative space-time record in February 2024, when he surpassed 878 days, 11 hours, 29 minutes, and 48 seconds set by fellow Russian Gennady Padalka in 2015.

If Kononenko’s mission ends as scheduled on September 23, 2024, he will have spent 1,110 days in orbit.

“There’s this awareness that you have achieved something new and important, that you’ve overcome a certain milestone, touched the unknown,” Kononenko told Russian state news agency TASS. “It gives you confidence, and pride in the work you’ve done.”

He also told TASS that his American colleagues on the ISS were among the first to congratulate him on his achievement.

ISS 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 program with NASA transporting astronauts to the ISS had been extended until 2025.

Source(s): AP