Wednesday, July 1, 2015

​Russian Cosmonaut Gennady Padalka Sets World Spaceflight Duration Record

Expedition 43 Russian Cosmonaut Gennady Padalka, of the Russian Federal Space Agency (Roscosmos) waves to family and friends after having his Russian sokol suit pressure checked for launch onboard the Soyuz TMA-16M spacecraft to the International Space Station with fellow crew members NASA Astronaut Scott Kelly, and Russian Cosmonaut Mikhail Kornienko Friday, March 27, 2015 in Baikonor, Kazakhstan. Credit: NASA/Bill Ingalls

On Monday, Russian cosmonaut Gennady Padalka broke the world record for the longest time in space. When he returns to Earth this fall, he will have spent 877 days in orbit, eclipsing the record set by his colleague Sergey Krikalev 10 years ago. In August 1998, Gennady Padalka embarked on his first journey through space as the commander of the Soyuz TM-28 spacecraft. During the flight he made one spacewalk and one transfer to the Spektr depressurized module. These operations lasted 6 hours 26 minutes.

Seventeen years have passed and on March 27, a three-man crew – spacecraft commander Gennady Padalka, flight-engineer Mikhail Kornienko and NASA astronaut Scott Kelly – flew up to the International Space Station on a Russian Soyuz spacecraft from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.

This mission, Padalka’s fifth, marked a special event in his career, alongside a significant landmark in human history: at 01:42 Moscow time, the Russian cosmonaut broke the record for the most days spent in space.

Selected as a cosmonaut in 1989, Padalka first flew in space aboard the Mir space station in 1998 and 1999, spending 198 days there as commander. Before his current mission, Padalka lived on the International Space Station during three stints in 2004, 2009 and 2012, leading the Expedition 9, Expedition 19 and Expedition 32 crews.

Padalka is now part of a record-setting mission on the space station. Besides his passage of Krikalev’s spaceflight endurance mark, two other members of the Expedition 44 mission — NASA astronaut Scott Kelly and cosmonaut Mikhail Kornienko — are on a nearly year-long residency on the complex.

Kelly will surpass astronaut Michael Lopez-Alegria’s record for the single-longest spaceflight by an American. Lopez-Alegria spent 215 days in space as commander of the Expedition 14 crew in 2006. Kelly will reach 216 days in space on October 28.

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