Thursday, 17 October, 2019

Legendary space explorer Aleksei Leonov died at the age of 85

Russian cosmonaut Alexei Leonov who made the first spacewalk in 1965 attends a meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin in the Novo Ogaryovo residence outside Moscow Russia. Alexei Leonov the first NASA sets first all female spacewalk
Patty Aguilar | 11 October, 2019, 21:26

Though less well known internationally than Yuri Gagarin, the first man in space, Leonov was a household name in his native Russian Federation and will be remembered in particular for his role in the 1965 Voskhod-2 mission. "Putin always admired Leonov's courage". "A tribute to Leonov as today is a spacewalk", Mission Control in Houston said.

It was the first joint space mission between the Soviet Union and the United States, carried out at the height of the Cold War, and was a prelude to the global co-operation seen aboard the current space station.

Leonov might have become the Soviet Union's first moonwalker, in fact, had his country's lunar-landing effort not been canceled in the wake of Apollo 11's triumphant moon landing by Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin on July 20, 1969.

At the news of his death, tributes poured in from space organisations around the world, with NASA saying "his venture into the vacuum of space began the history of extravehicular activity that makes today's Space Station maintenance possible".

Leonov was born in 1934 into a large peasant family in western Siberia.

Leonov's post-mission report in 1965 was short: "Provided with a special suit, man can survive and work in open space".

"(There was) an inky black, stars everywhere and the sun so bright I could barely stand it", Leonov told AFP in 2015 interview when he was a sprightly 80-year-old.

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Leonov and another cosmonaut, pilot Pavel Belyayev, orbited at a distance of 500 kilometres (310 miles) from Earth.

The crew was discovered four hours later and rescued only in two days as it was an ordeal to reach them.

Astronauts replaced more oversized batteries outside the International Space Station on Friday, as news broke of the death of the world's first spacewalker.

On the Apollo-Soyuz mission in 1975, Leonov met with United States astronauts in space and gave TV viewers tours of their respective crafts, the first time Soviet and U.S. cosmonauts collaborated in space.

Leonov was an accomplished artist and writer and his contemporaries described him as warm and likable.

Leonov is to be buried on Tuesday at a military memorial cemetery outside Moscow, Roscosmos said.

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