By presidential decree, Oleg Kononenko, an instructor, cosmonaut and test pilot, who heads the cosmonaut team of the Yuri Gagarin Research Institute, was awarded the Order of Merit for the Fatherland, Second Class. Putin noted the Hero's professionalism and courage in space exploration.
O. Kononenko was born on June 21, 1964 in Turkmenistan (Chardzhou - now Turkmenabad). He graduated as an aviation engineer at Kharkov Aviation Institute (Kharkov, Ukraine). In 2008 he performed his first space flight and 3 more flights - in 2011, 2015 and 2018.
Last year, Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov conferred on the Russian cosmonaut the title "Hero of Turkmenistan" for his personal contribution to the development of Turkmen-Russian relations and achievements in the exploration of outer space.