Alexei Leonov, 1st person to walk in space, dies at 85

Cheryl Sanders
October 11, 2019

Commander of the Soviet crew of Soyuz, Alexei Leonov (L) and commander of the American crew of Apollo, Thomas Stafford (R), shake hands 17 July 1975 in the space, somewhere over Western Germany, after the Apollo-Soyuz docking maneuvers.

The capsule that would carry Leonov into space would be a modified, heavier version of the same craft, with the crucial addition of an airlock. Just the previous month an unmanned mission to test.

Nasa broke into its live televised coverage of a spacewalk by two Americans outside the International Space Station to report Mr Leonov's death.

He later trained other cosmonauts.


"A tribute to Leonov today is a spacewalk", Mission Control in Houston said.

In 1975, Leonov took part in the historic Soyuz-Apollo spaceflight which, put an end to the "space race" between the USA and Soviet Union. He received a "Hero of the Soviet Union" medal - one of the Russian state's most prestigious awards - twice and has a small crater on the Moon named after him.

Spacewalks are now a routine part of space work.

Messages of condolences poured in from around the globe.


On Twitter, Nasa added: "His venture into the vacuum of space began the history of extra-vehicular activity that makes today's Space Station maintenance possible". Two NASA astronauts are conducting one Friday outside the ISS to install new batteries.

Russian space fans were bringing flowers to his monument Friday on the memorial alley in honour of Russia's cosmonauts in Moscow.

Roscosmos said Mr Leonov's funeral will take place on Tuesday at a military cemetery outside Moscow.


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