Alexei Leonov, first human to walk in space, dies aged 85

Alexey Arkhipovich Leonov, the Soviet cosmonaut who made the first spacewalk, died last Friday at age 85, Russian space agency Roscosmos reported. He twice received the title of Hero of the Soviet Union.

One of the first cosmonauts of the space age, Alexey Leonov has his name written in gold in the history of world space exploration. His mortal remains will be buried this Tuesday in the Mytishchi Military Memorial cemetery.

Leonov left his Voskhod-2 spacecraft on March 18, 1965 for a 20-minute spacewalk to test his space suit and maneuverability.

At the end of the spacewalk, Leonov’s space suit had inflated in the void of space to the point that he could not re-enter the airlock. He had to open a valve to allow the suit pressure to drop and be able to re-enter the capsule. Leonov had spent a year and a half in intensive weightless training for the mission.

Two months later he was followed by the American astronaut Edward White, who made the first US spacewalk in history during the Gemini 4 mission on June 3, 1965.

In July 1975, the Soviet cosmonaut participated in the joint mission of the Soviet Union and the United States Apollo-Soyuz. Leonov was commander of the Soyuz 19 spacecraft that made the first docking with an American space vehicle, the Apollo ship commanded by Thomas Stafford, during the historic Apollo-Soyuz Test Project.

From 1976 to 1982, Leónov was the commander of the cosmonaut team and deputy director of the Yuri Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Center, where he supervised the training of the crews. He retired in 1991.

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