Russian cosmonaut Oleg Kononenko is poised to establish a new world record on Sunday for the cumulative time spent in space, reaching nearly 2 and a half years, as reported by Russian news agencies. At 11:30:08 Moscow time, the 59-year-old Kononenko is expected to surpass the record set by his fellow countryman Gennady Padalka, who completed a total of 878 days, 11 hours, 29 minutes, and 48 seconds across five space flights before retiring in 2017, according to the state news agency TASS.
As the commander of the Russian space agency Roscosmos cosmonaut corps, Kononenko is undertaking his fifth space mission. Upon the conclusion of the ongoing expedition, slated for September 23, Kononenko will have accumulated 1,110 days in space.
At the age of 34, Kononenko commenced training as part of the cosmonaut group selected for the International Space Station (ISS) program, as detailed on the European Space Agency’s website. His inaugural space flight took place on April 8, 2008, as part of the 17th main expedition of the ISS, concluding on October 24, 2008, as reported by the Interfax news agency.
Despite strained relations between the United States and Russia in various areas following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine nearly two years ago, collaboration on the ISS remains a notable exception. In December, Roscosmos announced the extension of a cross-flight program with NASA to the ISS until 2025.