Cosmonaut captures space-time crown with 803 days off Earth

Russian cosmonaut Gennady Padalka is the new king of space after breaking the old record of 802 days.

Amanda Kooser
Freelance writer Amanda C. Kooser covers gadgets and tech news with a twist for CNET. When not wallowing in weird gear and iPad apps for cats, she can be found tinkering with her 1956 DeSoto.
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Gennady Padalka
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Gennady Padalka
Cosmonaut Gennady Padalka's second home is in space. NASA

June 28 was a memorable day for cosmonaut Gennady Padalka, commander of Expedition 44 on the International Space Station. It marked his 803rd cumulative day in space, a milestone that broke his countryman Sergei Krikalev's old record for time spent in space, set back in 2005.

NASA highlighted the accomplishment on Tuesday.

Those hundreds of days were gathered together over the course of four missions. Padalka's time in zero gravity accounts for over two years of his life. That's a lot of time spent squeezing spinach out of a tube and sleeping in an anchored cocoon.

The cosmonaut has been in residence on the space station since March 27 for his current mission. Padalka's endurance ability makes him a prime subject for studying the impact of long-term spaceflight on the human body, and particularly how it affects vision.

Padalka will be padding his record since he's not due back on the planet until September.

Another notable space record was achieved less than a month ago when astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti, the first Italian woman in space, racked up a 200-day trip aboard the ISS. That gave her the record for most consecutive days in space by a woman, topping NASA astronaut Sunita Williams' 195 days. Cristoforetti achieved this distinction in early June before returning to Earth mid-month.