Russian cosmonaut Oleg Kononenko has broken the world record for the most cumulative time spent in space. As of 4 February 2024, Kononenko’s time aboard the International Space Station (ISS) surpassed the previous record, reaching over 878 days across multiple missions since 2008. By the end of his current mission in September 2024, he is expected to set a staggering new record of 1,110 days in space.
Despite the significant physical and emotional toll that prolonged space missions exert on astronauts, including bone density loss, muscle atrophy, and psychological challenges due to isolation and separation from family, Kononenko has expressed pride in his achievements and dedication to his work rather than a pursuit of records. His accomplishment underscores the rigorous demands of space travel and the resilience required of astronauts.
Meanwhile, the ISS, a collaborative project involving multiple space agencies, is approaching the end of its operational lifespan, with NASA planning to begin deorbiting it by 2030. Amidst this, Roscosmos has announced plans to withdraw from the ISS by the end of 2024 and intentions to continue cross-flight programs until 2025, despite ongoing tensions and technical issues with Russian modules on the ISS. This record-breaking event marks a significant moment in space exploration history, highlighting human endurance and the intricate dynamics of international space collaboration.