Russian cosmonaut Oleg Kononenko has made history by spending more time in space than anyone else. Surpassing his fellow cosmonaut Gennady Padalka, Kononenko broke the record for the longest time spent in space, as announced by Russia’s space corporation, Roscosmos. Kononenko achieved this milestone at 0830 GMT, and he is expected to reach 1,000 days in space on June 5. By late September, his total time in space will have reached 1,110 days.

Speaking from the International Space Station (ISS), where he orbits about 263 miles (423 km) from Earth, Kononenko expressed his pride in his accomplishments. His passion for space exploration rather than setting records was emphasized, as he stated that he flew into space to do his favorite thing, not to set records. Kononenko, aged 59, took over the record from Padalka, who spent a total of 878 days, 11 hours, 29 minutes, and 48 seconds in space. Despite the challenges of space travel, including the physical effects of weightlessness and the time spent away from family, Kononenko remains dedicated to his profession as a cosmonaut. He highlighted the increasing complexity of space missions and the difficulties posed by technological advancements in preparation for each new flight. Kononenko’s journey to space began with his childhood dream, leading him to enroll in an engineering institute before undergoing cosmonaut training. His current mission to the ISS, launched last year on a Soyuz MS-24 spacecraft, underscores the enduring collaboration between the United States and Russia in space exploration, amidst strained relations between the two countries in other areas.