Kazakhstan greets record-setting Russian cosmonaut, two crewmen

Kazakhstan greets record-setting Russian cosmonaut, two crewmen


Russian cosmonaut Gennady Padalka, 57, the former station commander, returned from his fifth spaceflight with a record 879 days in orbit. He broke the record of six-time flier Sergei Krikalev, who has a career total 803 days in space.

Returning with Padalka were Andreas Mogensen of the European Space Agency, jokingly dubbed “Denmark’s Gagarin” after Yuri Gagarin, the first man in space, and Aidyn Aimbetov, the third Kazakh cosmonaut, both of whom spent less than 10 days in orbit.

Several hours later the trio were brought by helicopter to the airport of Kazakhstan’s capital, Astana, where Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev gave them a red-carpet reception.

“You’ve spent so much time in space, but you look great,” Nazarbayev told Padalka.

“I congratulate you on your cosmonaut and all of us on the successful completion of our work,” Padalka said.

Mogensen said the crew had had “a fantastic mission” at the ISS, whose nine members represented five different nationalities at the time.

“This is a superb example of what can be achieved together when we work together across borders and boundaries,” he said.

Nazarbayev later gave the crew apples – a symbol of Kazakhstan – and a plane took them to Russia’s Star City.


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