Oleg Kononenko

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Oleg Kononenko
Олег Дмитриевич Кононенко
'A Beautiful Planet' World Premiere (NHQ201604160010).jpg
Oleg Dmitriyevich Kononenko

(1964-06-21) June 21, 1964 (age 56)
AwardsHero of the Russian Federation medal.pngTM Gold star.png
Space career
RKA Cosmonaut
Time in space
736 days 18 hours 43 minutes
Selection1996 RKA Group
Total EVAs
Total EVA time
24 hours 28 minutes
MissionsSoyuz TMA-12 (Expedition 17), Soyuz TMA-03M (Expedition 30/31), Soyuz TMA-17M (Expedition 44/45), Soyuz MS-11 (Expedition 58/59), Soyuz MS-22 (planned for 2022)
Mission insignia
Soyuz TMA-12 Patch.png ISS Expedition 17 patch.png Soyuz-TMA-03M-Mission-Patch.png ISS Expedition 30 Patch.png ISS Expedition 31 Patch.png Soyuz-TMA-17M-Mission-Patch.png ISS Expedition 44 Patch.svg ISS Expedition 45 Patch.png Soyuz-MS-11-Mission-Patch.png ISS Expedition 58 Patch.svg ISS Expedition 59 Patch.svg

Oleg Dmitriyevich Kononenko (Russian: Олег Дмитриевич Кононенко; Turkmen: Oleg Dmitriýewiç Kononenko; born June 21, 1964 in Turkmenistan) is a Turkmen Russian cosmonaut.[1] He has flown to the International Space Station four times, as a flight engineer for Expedition 17 aboard Soyuz TMA-12, as a flight engineer on Expedition 30 and commander of Expedition 31 aboard Soyuz TMA-03M, as a flight engineer on Expedition 44 and Expedition 45 aboard Soyuz TMA-17M, and as commander of Expedition 58 and Expedition 59 aboard Soyuz MS-11. Kononenko accumulated over 736 days in orbit during his four long duration flights to ISS.

Personal life[edit]

Oleg Kononenko was born June 21, 1964, in Chardzhou, Turkmen SSR (now Turkmenistan) to a simple family. His father Dmitriý Iwanoviç Kononenko worked as a driver in a freight trucking company, and his mother Taisiýa Stepanowna Çurakowa was a communications operator at the Türkmenabat Airport. Kononenko graduated from high school No. 15 of Turkmenabat city, it is noteworthy that Oleg also had excellent marks in the subject Turkmen language.[2]

Kononenko studied at a specialized school of volleyball, was a member of the youth team of Turkmenistan.

He is married to Tatiana Mikhailovna Kononenko (née Yurieva). They have a son, Andrey Olegovich Kononenko, and a daughter, Alisa Olegovna Kononenko. Oleg enjoys reading and team sports.


After school, Oleg Kononenko was not able to enter the Kharkov Aviation Institute the first time. He returned home, worked for a year in the tool shop of the Türkmenabat Airport aviation technical base.[2] The second attempt was successful. Kononenko graduated from the N. E. Zhukovskiy Kharkiv Aviation Institute in 1988 as a mechanical engineer.[1]


Hero of Russia Oleg Kononenko

Kononenko was awarded the Hero of the Russian Federation medal and the Yuri A. Gagarin Medal of the Cosmonautics Federation, Russia.

President of Turkmenistan Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov awarded the cosmonaut with the Star of President Order.[3] In 2019 he was named a Hero of Turkmenistan.[4][5]


After graduation, Kononenko worked at the Russian Space Agency's Central Specialized Design Bureau TsSKB-Progress in Kuybishev, starting as an engineer and working his way up to the leading design engineer. His responsibilities included system design, analysis, and development of spacecraft electrical power systems.[1]

Cosmonaut career[edit]

Oleg Kononenko floats through the Destiny Laboratory of the Space Station.

On March 29, 1996, Oleg was selected as a cosmonaut candidate by the Interagency Committee, and from June 1996 to March 1998, he underwent cosmonaut training at the Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Center and on March 20, 1998, was awarded the title of test cosmonaut by the Interagency Qualification Committee.[1] In October 1998 he began training as part of the group of cosmonauts selected for the International Space Station (ISS) Program.[1]

From December, 2001, through April 2002, Kononenko trained as a backup flight engineer for the Soyuz TM-34 vehicle for the third ISS visiting crew. From March 2002, through February 2004, he trained as the flight engineer for the Soyuz TMA vehicle and the Expedition 9 and Expedition 11 primary crews. From March 2004 through March 2006, he trained as part of the group of cosmonauts selected for the ISS Program. In March 2006, Kononenko began training as a flight engineer for the Soyuz TMA-12 vehicle and the Expedition 17 crew.[1]

Expedition 30 flight engineer Oleg Kononenko performs a SPRUT-2 experiment run in the Zvezda Service Module of the Space Station.

Expedition 17[edit]

Kononenko was a Flight Engineer on both the Expedition 17 mission to the International Space Station, and the Soyuz TMA-12 mission that flew him there. The crew launched on April 8, 2008, and landed on October 24, 2008.[1] Kononenko spent 199 days in space.[6]

Kononenko returned to Earth with Expedition 17 commander Sergei Volkov, and spaceflight participant Richard Garriott (who launched aboard Soyuz TMA-13 to the ISS on October 12, 2008 with the Expedition 18 crew).[7][8] They landed at 11:37 p.m EDT 55 miles north of Arkalyk, Kazakhstan. They were flown to the Baikonur Cosmodrome by helicopter, and then went on to Zvezdny Gorodok (Star City), Moscow.[9][10][11]

Expedition 30/31[edit]

On December 21, 2011, Kononenko, along with André Kuipers and Donald Pettit, launched to the International Space Station to join the crew of Expedition 30.[12] He, along with his fellow crewmembers, arrived at the space station on December 23.[13] They returned to Earth on July 1, 2012.[14]


Spacewalker Oleg Kononenko seen outside the Space Station on 12 February 2012.

Kononenko conducted his first spacewalk on July 10, 2008 when he ventured into space from the Pirs docking compartment airlock of the ISS.[15] He and cosmonaut Volkov inspected their Soyuz TMA-12 spacecraft and retrieved a pyro bolt from it. This spacewalk lasted 6 hours and 18 minutes.

On July 15, 2008 Kononenko again went outside from Pirs to conduct his second spacewalk.[16] Kononenko and Volkov installed one experiment and retrieved another. They also continued to outfit the station's exterior, including the installation of a docking target on the Zvezda service module. The spacewalk was in Russian Orlan suits and Kononenko wore an Orlan suit with blue stripes. The spacewalk lasted 5 hours and 54 minutes.

On February 12, 2012, Kononenko and colleague cosmonaut Anton Shkaplerov were scheduled to conduct a six-hour spacewalk outside the ISS. They installed shields on the Zvezda Service Module to protect it from micrometeoroid orbital debris and moved the Strela 1 crane from the Pirs docking compartment to the Poisk Mini Research Module (MRM-2). The two cosmonauts also installed struts on a ladder used by spacewalkers on the Pirs Docking Compartment. As another get-ahead task, they also installed an experiment called Vynoslivost on the Poisk Mini Research Module. As part of the Vynoslivost or "Endurance" experiment, two trays of metal samples would be left exposed on the surface of the Poisk Module.[17]

Expedition 44/45[edit]

On July 22, 2015, Kononenko launched to the International Space Station as Soyuz Commander, together with NASA astronaut Kjell Lindgren and Kimiya Yui from the Japanese Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) on Soyuz-TMA-17M. They spent 5 months on the International Space Station as members of the Expedition 44 and Expedition 45 Crews. The trio returned to Earth in rare night landing on December 11, 2015, when their Soyuz TMA-17M landed safely on the steppe of Kazakhstan. Kononenko spent 142 days in space on his third mission.

Expedition 58/59[edit]

Kononenko on EVA to examine the external hull of Soyuz MS-09, standing on a Strela crane, on 11 December 2018

Kononenko launched towards the ISS for the fourth time as Soyuz Commander of Soyuz MS-11 on December 3, 2018. He was originally scheduled to be serving as Flight Engineer on Expedition 58 and Commander on Expedition 59, although due to the launch failure of Soyuz MS-10 on 11 October 2018, the original Expedition 58 Commander, Aleksey Ovchinin was no longer aboard the station for Expedition 58, therefore Kononenko commanded both Expedition 58 and Expedition 59. Expedition 58 started on 20 December 2018 with the departure of Soyuz MS-09.[18] Kononenko and fellow crew members Anne McClain and David Saint-Jacques returned to Earth on 24 June 2019, after 203 days 15 hours and 16 minutes in space.[19]

Kononenko always warmly recalls his stay in his motherland - Turkmenistan.[20][21] On December 31, 2018 Kononenko showed the flag of Turkmenistan and the book "Turkmenistan is the heart of the Great Silk Road" of Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov from the ISS and wishes Happy New Year from the orbit of all Turkmenistan citizens.[22] The astronaut also noted that he has special feelings for the country where he was born and grew up, proud and rejoiced at her achievements.[23]


In June 2020, Kononenko announced that he is expected to return to the ISS in late 2022, along with Anna Kikina.[24]

Honours and awards[edit]


 This article incorporates public domain material from websites or documents of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration.

  1. ^ a b c d e f g NASA (2008). "Oleg Dmitrievich Kononenko". NASA. Archived from the original on September 16, 2008. Retrieved October 25, 2008.
  2. ^ a b Биография космонавта МКС, уроженца Туркменистана - Олега Дмитриевича Кононенко
  3. ^ http://www.turkmenistaninfo.ru/?page_id=6&type=article&elem_id=page_6/magazine_79/681&lang_id=en
  4. ^ Космонавту Олегу Кононенко присвоено звание Героя Туркменистана
  5. ^ Космонавту Олегу Кононенко присвоили звание Героя Туркменистана
  6. ^ NASA (2008). "Expedition 17". NASA. Retrieved October 25, 2008.
  7. ^ Mark Carreau (2008). "$30 million buys Austin resident a ride on Soyuz mission". The Houston Chronicle. Retrieved October 12, 2008.
  8. ^ Tariq Malik. "Former Astronaut's Son Signs on as Next Space Tourist". SPACE.com. Retrieved October 9, 2007.
  9. ^ BBC (October 24, 2008). "Soyuz space capsule lands safely". BBC News. Retrieved October 25, 2008.
  10. ^ ITAR (2008). "Cosmonauts examined with special system". ITAR-TASS News Agency. Archived from the original on December 27, 2008. Retrieved October 25, 2008.
  11. ^ Peter Leonard for the Associated Press (2008). "US Game Designer Blasts Into Space With DNA Cargo". ABC News. Archived from the original on October 20, 2008. Retrieved October 25, 2008.
  12. ^ "Russian Soyuz rocket blasts off". ITN. 21 December 2011. Retrieved 21 December 2011.[permanent dead link]
  13. ^ Klotz, Irene (23 December 2011). "New crew arrives at International Space Station". Reuters. Retrieved 23 December 2011.
  14. ^ Bora, Kukil (2 July 2012). "Three Expedition 31 Crew Members From International Space Station Land In Kazakhstan". International Business Times. Retrieved 2 July 2012.
  15. ^ NASA (July 10, 2008). "Russian Spacewalkers Retrieve Soyuz Pyro Bolt". Retrieved June 3, 2010.
  16. ^ NASA (July 15, 2008). "Russian Spacewalkers Outfit Station's Exterior". Retrieved June 3, 2010.
  17. ^ "Soyuz TMA-03M". Russianspaceweb.com. 23 December 2011. Retrieved 25 December 2011.
  18. ^ Garcia, Mark (2018-11-01). "Expedition 58". NASA. Retrieved 2020-10-06.
  19. ^ Harwood, William (June 25, 2019). "3 station fliers complete 'once-in-a-lifetime ride' home after 204-day stay in orbit". CBS News.
  20. ^ Космонавт Кононенко с орбиты поздравил народ Туркмении с Новым годом
  21. ^ Олег Кононенко: «В четвёртый космический полёт обязательно возьму какую-то частицу Туркменистана»
  22. ^ Космонавт Кононенко продемонстрировал с борта МКС флаг Туркменистана и книгу Бердымухамедова
  23. ^ Кононенко с борта МКС поздравил жителей Туркменистана с Новым годом
  24. ^ "Russia's only female cosmonaut expected to make spaceflight in autumn of 2022". TASS. 26 June 2020.

External links[edit]

Preceded by
Daniel Burbank
ISS Expedition Commander
27 April to 1 July 2012
Succeeded by
Gennady Padalka
Preceded by
Alexander Gerst
ISS Expedition Commander
20 December 2018 - June 24, 2019
Succeeded by
Aleksey Ovchinin