'He's the greatest Obi-Wan': Meet Russian astronaut Gennady Padalka, Earth’s longest resident in space

What is the longest time a human has been in space? 803 days and counting.

Russian cosmonaut Gennady Padalka has become mankind's most experienced spaceman setting a new record for most time spent in space, with a total of 803 days as on July 2015.

"The record is official. Gennady Padalka has become the man who spent the most time in space," a spokesman for the Russian federal space agency Roscosmos told AFP.

Padalka inside the ISS . Image Credit: NASA

Padalka aboard the ISS. Image Credit: NASA

 

Padalka is the current commander of the International Space Station which has been orbiting the Earth. When Padalka returns to Earth in September with fellow ISS crew members Mikhail Kornienko and Scott Kelly, he will have spent a total of 877 days, or roughly 2.5 years, in space.

Commander Gennady Padalka with International Space Station crew member Mikhail Kornienko. Image Courtesy: Twitter @Space_Station

Commander Gennady Padalka with International Space Station crew member Mikhail Kornienko. Image Courtesy: Twitter @Space_Station

 

Born on 21 June, 1958, in Russia, Padalka is 57 years old and is currently on his fifth space mission. Trained as a military pilot during the Soviet era, he first went to space in 1998, when he served as commander on the pre-ISS Mir orbital complex that year. According to his official bio on the NASA website, he was awarded the Star of Russian Federation Hero, and the title of Russian Federation Test-Cosmonaut.

Gennady Padalka, Expedition 43 flight engineer, performed his Flight Day 30 fundoscopy, with assistance from astronaut Terry Virts. Image Credit: NASA

Gennady Padalka, Expedition 43 flight engineer, performed his Flight Day 30 fundoscopy, with assistance from astronaut Terry Virts. Image Credit: NASA

Padalka is a veteran spacewalker and is referred to as Obi Wan Kenobi from Star Wars by his colleagues for his experience. He was described by a US colleague as the best at training space rookies on how to live in zero gravity. "If you're a new guy (on the ISS), the guy you want to fly with is Padalka, he's the greatest Obi-Wan ever," astronaut Mike Fincke said in a NASA video, apparently referring to a key character in the Star Wars saga.

Humanity's most expereinced spaceman Gennady Padalka. Image Credit: NASA

Humanity's most expereinced spaceman Gennady Padalka. Image Credit: NASA

He is married to Irina Anatolievna Padalka and they have three daughters, Yulia, Ekaterina and Sonya. Gennady, when he not in space, enjoys the theatre, parachute sport and diving.

(With agency inputs)


Updated Date: Jul 07, 2015 07:20 AM

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