Russian cosmonaut Oleg Kononenko set a world record for the most time spent in space after logging more than 878 days or approximately two and a half years.

Kononenko overtook the record previously set by his compatriot Gennady Padalka who logged 878 days, 11 hours, 29 minutes, and 48 seconds during five space flights before retiring in 2017. Kononenko broke the record while orbiting 263 miles from Earth during his fifth space flight.

Russian Cosmonaut Sets Record for Most Time Spent In Space POOL:VIA REUTERS
Russian Cosmonaut sets record for most time spent in space; Photo: POOL/VIA REUTERS

“I fly into space to do my favorite thing, not to set records,” he told the state news agency Tass in an interview from the International Space Station (ISS).

“I am proud of all my achievements, but I am most proud that the record for the total duration of human stay in space is still held by a Russian cosmonaut,” Kononenko, who is the commander of Roscosmos, said.

His current space flight is scheduled to end in late September, by which time he will have logged 1,110 days in space. After beginning his space career as an engineer, he began training as a cosmonaut at age 34 and his first space flight took place in April 2008, lasting 200 days.


His five space flights have spanned 16 years, during which time technological advances have continued to evolve and change the process of preparing for flights.

New World Record for Most Time Spent In Space REUTERS:Maxim Shemetov
Russian cosmonaut Oleg Kononenko’s new world record; Photo: REUTERS/Maxim Shemetov

“The profession of a cosmonaut is becoming more complicated. The systems and experiments are becoming more complicated. I repeat, the preparation has not become easier.” he stated.

Kononenko also stated that, while video calls and messaging allowed him to keep in touch, coming back home made him realize what he had been missing here on Earth. “It is only upon returning home that the realization comes that for hundreds of days in my absence the children have been growing up without father,” he said. “No one will return this time to me.”