"I've had people tell me I'm good at it. Maybe 'cause I like it, I'm good. Maybe because I'm good at it, I like it." - Sergei Krikalev

Early yesterday morning above our heads, unknown to most, a well-traveled member of our species set a new incredible record. Sergei Konstantinovich Krikalev, current commander of the International Space Station Expedition 11, becomes the world's most accustomed space inhabitant. He set this record after accumulating the longest time in space: 748 days. (I suppose somewhere in there might also be the longest consecutive stretch too, but could be wrong.)

Not all of Krikalev's accomplishment has been earned aboard ISS. He has a long career in the Russian space program including several tours aboard Mir. Krikalev, a mechanical engineer from St. Petersburg, is no stranger to accolades. Decorated as a Hero of the Soviet Union and having received the Order of Lenin, one of his more interesting stays in space came during a 151-day mission in 1991 in which he launched from the Soviet Union yet returned to Russia. In 1994 he became the first Russian to fly in the American space shuttle. He was instrumental in the construction of Alpha, having delivered the Unity Module in 1998, and served with the crew of the pioneering Expedition 1.

Topic! That's why the dismissal of the Mayweather character in Series 5 was so inexcusable. Here was a ready-made chance to examine the life of someone with a lifetime of space experience, very little planetside, which should have been extremely interesting to those of us with exactly the opposite! Unless I'm not thinking of someone obvious, that character remains undeveloped in science fiction on screen. (Funny to think of how their slumber ride may have skewed the percentages of Khan and company!)

Krikalev will continue daily to break his record until a scheduled return to Earth in early October, some fifty days from now having notched 814 days in his spacesuit. He turns 46 later this month. By that time he will have spent roughly two years of that in space, or 4.3% of his total life. The engineer in me just can't massage those numbers to yield the "round number" of 5%, but it's not unreasonable that the successor to Krikalev's goal might very well surpass it. Then, God willing, comes 10% or even more, and in time the space baby for which 100% becomes an unbeatable record.

Such are the days we inhabit. I'm glad they have such a new kind of hero.

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