Subscribe to Breaking News emails

You have successfully subscribed to the Breaking News email.

Subscribe today to be the first to to know about breaking news and special reports.

Suited for Space: Cosmonaut Gennady Padalka Sets Record for Days in Orbit

by Robert Z. Pearlman, CollectSpace /
Image: Russian cosmonaut Gennady Padalka
Roscosmos cosmonaut Gennady Padalka, seen here aboard the International Space Station in 2004, has broken the record for the most cumulative time spent in orbit.NASA

Breaking News Emails

Get breaking news alerts and special reports. The news and stories that matter, delivered weekday mornings.

A cosmonaut onboard the International Space Station has beaten the record for the most time spent off the planet — and he still has months to go before he comes home to Earth.

Gennady Padalka, a Russian who is serving a record fourth command of the orbiting outpost, logged his 804th day in Earth orbit Monday (June 29), spread over five flights. He surpassed the previous record of 803 days, 9 hours, and 39 minutes accrued over six missions, set in October 2005 by fellow cosmonaut Sergei Krikalev.

"I hope this flight will take the figure to 878 days," Padalka said before his most recent launch in March. "But I am not going to stop at that — I hope to reach 1,000 days in orbit on my following flight." [Most Extreme Human Spaceflight Records]

Image: Russian cosmonaut Gennady Padalka
Roscosmos cosmonaut Gennady Padalka, seen here aboard the International Space Station in 2004, has broken the record for the most cumulative time spent in orbit.NASA

Scheduled to return to Earth on Sept. 11, Padalka marked his 57th birthday onboard the space station on June 21.

"When I was only 3 years old, the first man flew in space," Padalka recounted to a NASA interviewer in 2009. "When I was only 7 years old, human beings began to work in the open space and when I was only 11 years old, I remember watching people walk on the moon."

"It was incredible decade for all [of] mankind and I think at that time each boy dreamed to become [a] cosmonaut or astronaut," Padalka said. "So did I."

When Padalka launched for his fourth visit to the station in March, he already had spent 710 days – almost two years — in space.

"Gennady's feeling right now like he always does when he is up in space, he's where he's supposed to be," said Mike Fincke, an astronaut and Padalka's one-time crewmate, in a NASA interview Monday (June 29). "It's an awesome feeling where you just wake up in the morning and say, 'I'm supposed to be here, this is what I am supposed to be doing with my life.'"

This is an abbreviated version of a report from collectSPACE.com. Read the full report. Follow collectSPACE.com on Facebook and on Twitter at @collectSPACE.

More from collectSPACE.com

Breaking News Emails

Get breaking news alerts and special reports. The news and stories that matter, delivered weekday mornings.
MORE FROM news