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Cosmonaut sets a new record for time in orbit

Oleg Kononenko has set an unworldly record for  time spent in space.

Oleg Kononenko has set an unworldly record for time spent in space. Photo: EPA

Russian cosmonaut Oleg Kononenko is expected to set a world record for the duration of space flights with nearly two-and-a-half years in total, according to Russian news agencies.

At 1130 Sunday Moscow time (1930 AEDT), the 59-year-old Kononenko will exceed the achievement of his compatriot Gennady Padalka, who accumulated a total of 878 days, 11 hours, 29 minutes and 48 seconds over five space flights before retiring in 2017, state news agency TASS reported.

Kononenko, who is the commander of the Russian space state agency Roscosmos cosmonaut corps, is conducting his fifth space flight. Upon completion of the current expedition, scheduled for September 23, Kononenko will have logged 1110 days in space.

At the age of 34, Kononenko began training as part of the group of cosmonauts selected for the International Space Station (ISS) program, according to the European Space Agency’s website.

He went on his first space flight on April 8, 2008, as part of the 17th main expedition of the ISS, returning to Earth on October 24, 2008, the Interfax news agency reported.

The ISS is one of the few international projects on which the United States and Russia still co-operate closely. In December, Roscosmos said a cross-flight program with NASA to the ISS had been extended until 2025.

Relations in other areas between the two countries have broken down since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine nearly two years ago, to which Washington responded by sending arms to Kyiv and imposing successive rounds of sanctions on Moscow.

-AAP

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