Russian astronaut Oleg Kononenko sets new world record for most extended stay in space
Oleg Kononenko set a new record for time spent in space last Sunday. He achieved this feat at 3 AM Eastern Time, surpassing the previous record held by his compatriot, Gennady Padalka.
Kononenko's predecessor stayed in space for 878 days, 11 hours, 29 minutes and 48 seconds, spread throughout five missions.
At 59, Kononenko broke the record while orbiting 262 miles from Earth during his fifth space mission. Kononenko arrived at the International Space Station on September 15 last year. His mission is set to end on September 23 this year, meaning the current record will be extended to 1110 days.
"I journey to space for my love of it, not with the intent to break records" - he disclosed to the state news agency Tass in an interview from the International Space Station.
During his stay on the ISS, Kononenko conducted six spacewalks, spending an aggregate of 39 hours and 54 minutes in space. He honestly acknowledges the significant personal sacrifices that his space expeditions have demanded. "Only after coming home did I realize that the children had grown without a father for hundreds of days," he expressed.
"The preparation does not get any easier", Oleg Kononenko comments on technological advancement.
Kononenko's six missions spanned over sixteen years. Yet, despite his lengthy career, the astronaut concedes that preparations for expeditions haven't gotten more accessible - in fact, it's quite the opposite. He believes that technological advances complicate preparations for future missions.
"The profession of an astronaut is becoming increasingly complex. Systems and experiments are getting more intricate. The preparations aren't getting any easier," the record breaker admitted.
Remarkably, "The Guardian" highlights that the projects concerning missions to the International Space Station are one of the few instances where the US and Russian Federation still cooperate. However, even this cooperation has been challenging in light of the ongoing war in Ukraine.