Russian cosmonaut Valery Polyakov, the holder of the world record for the longest single stay in space, died at age 80, Russia’s space agency announced on Monday.
Roscosmos agency announced Polyakov’s death but did not disclose the time or cause of his death.
The Russian cosmonaut spent 437 days and 18 hours aboard the Mir space station from January 1994 to March 1995, a record that earned him the “Hero of Russia” title.
Born in the Soviet industrial heartland of Tula on 24 April 1942, Polyakov specialized in astronautics medicine and dedicated himself to space medicine after earning a doctoral degree at a Moscow medical school.
“His research has helped prove that the human body is ready to travel not only to Earth’s orbit, but also into deep space,” Roscosmos said in its statement expressing condolences over his death.
In an interview shared by Roscosmos, Polyakov claimed that the 280 million kilometers he had amassed in his 437 consecutive days in space “is enough to reach Mars and come back.”
He made a total of two space expeditions, during which he spent 678 days and 16 hours in orbit. Polyakov was awarded the title Hero of the Soviet Union for his first space flight from August 1988 to April 1989, where he spent 240 days and 22 hours in orbit.