Wednesday, 16 October, 2019

First man to conduct spacewalk, Alexei Leonov, dies

Russian cosmonaut Alexei Leonov who made the first spacewalk in 1965 right and Russian President Vladimir Putin pose for Russian cosmonaut Alexei Leonov who made the first spacewalk in 1965 right and Russian President Vladimir Putin pose for
Sandy Nunez | 12 October, 2019, 19:31

The cosmonaut's death was also mourned by NASA, with the United States space agency interrupting its live stream of NASA astronauts Andrew Morgan and Christina Koch performing an EVA on the International Space Station in order to announce these sad news, and later tweeting that "his venture into the vacuum of space began the history of extravehicular activity that makes today's @Space_Station maintenance possible". During the Voshkod 2 mission in March 1965, Leonov exited the spacecraft, becoming the first person to perform an extra-vehicular activity.

Leonov flew a second time in 1975, when he was the commander of the Soviet half of the landmark Apollo-Soyuz test project, the first Russian-American joint space mission. The détente-inspired mission saw the last Apollo spacecraft rendezvous in space with a Soviet Soyuz, as a demonstration of supposedly thawing US-Soviet relations.

As U.S. astronauts Andrew Morgan and Christina Koch wrapped up a successful seven-hour spacewalk, the rest of the station crew paid tribute to Leonov. "We should collaborate and work together". "That worked, they opened it and drank (the borscht) and were caught by surprise".

Oleg Kononenko and Alexei Ovchinin, two members of the International Space Station, dedicated their spacewalk on May 29 to Leonov, who celebrated his 85th birthday the following day.

He was twice decorated with the country's top honour, the Hero of the Soviet Union.

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Alexi Leonov was one of the greats in spaceflight.

Messages of condolences poured from around the globe.

"One of the finest people I have ever known", former Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield tweeted on Friday.

NASA on Friday offered sympathy to Leonov's family, saying it was saddened by his death. "Alexei Arkhipovich Leonov, artist, leader, spacewalker and friend, I salute you".

A visitation will be held in Leonov's honor in Moscow on Tuesday, Oct. 15.