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

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 dating back to 2008.

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

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

If Kononenko’s mission ends as scheduled Sept. 23, 2024, he will have spent a total of 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.

The International Space Station is one of the few areas in which the United States and Russia still cooperate closely following Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine in Feb. 2022. Roscosmos announced in December that its cross-flight program with NASA transporting astronauts to the ISS had been extended until 2025.

By The Associated Press

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