Record-breaking cosmonaut returns to Earth

Ground staff carrying Mr Gennady Padalka after he landed near the town of Zhezkazgan, Kazakhstan, yesterday. The Russian cosmonaut, who led the 44th expedition at the International Space Station, has spent a record 879 days in space over five separat
Ground staff carrying Mr Gennady Padalka after he landed near the town of Zhezkazgan, Kazakhstan, yesterday. The Russian cosmonaut, who led the 44th expedition at the International Space Station, has spent a record 879 days in space over five separate trips.PHOTO: REUTERS

ASTANA (Kazakhstan) • Russian cosmonaut Gennady Padalka returned safely to Earth with two other astronauts from the International Space Station (ISS) yesterday with the record for having spent the most time in space.

Mr Padalka - who has spent a total of 879 days in space over five separate trips - touched ground on the barren Kazakh steppe on schedule at 0051 GMT (8.51am Singapore time) along with Kazakh cosmonaut Aidyn Aimbetov and Danish astronaut Andreas Mogensen.

Mr Padalka led the 44th expedition at the ISS, breaking a 10-year- old record for the total number of days spent in the cosmos on June 28 when he surpassed the figure of 803 days, nine hours and 41 minutes achieved by Mr Sergei Krikalev, another Russian.

His most recent mission began on March 27.

"I feel fine," said Mr Padalka as he sat sipping tea and nibbling on an apple surrounded by Russian space officials following his re-entry.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on September 13, 2015, with the headline 'Record-breaking cosmonaut returns to Earth'. Print Edition | Subscribe