Valery Polyakov, took longest single trip to space, dies

MOSCOW (AP) — Russia’s space agency says Valery Polyakov, the Soviet cosmonaut who set the record for the longest single spaceflight, has died at age 80. Polyakov’s record of 437 days in space began Jan. 8, 1994, when he and two others blasted off to the Soviet space station Mir. While aboard Mir, he orbited the Earth more than 7,000 times, and returned on March 22, 1995. Upon landing, Polyakov declined to be carried out of the Soyuz capsule, as is common practice to allow readjustment to the pull of gravity, and climbed out himself. Polyakov trained as a physician and wanted to demonstrate that the human body could endure extended periods in space.