Friday 8 November 2019

Alexei Leonov Is Dead

Most of you will have never heard of Alexei Leonov and if you have you might not have known that he has died. He died on the 11th October 2019 in Moscow. So who was he?

He was the first man to walk in space back on the 18th March 1965 and he was outside of his space capsule for 12 minutes. 

Born in 1934 in Siberia, he was 14 when he moved with his family to Kalingrad, the former German city of Konigsberg. He joined the Soviet Air Force in 1957 and in 1960 was selected to be one of the first 20 pilots to be trained as Cosmonauts. In 1965 he went into space aboard the Voskhod 2, from which he did his space walk. For his space walk he was made a Hero of the Soviet Union.

On the 22nd January 1969 he was part of a parade celebrating the return of Cosmonauts from the Soyuz 4 and 5 missions. A deserter from the Soviet Army fired on the vehicle he was in killing the driver and slightly wounding a number of the Cosmonauts. Leonov wrote later that the Premier of the Soviet Union Leonid Brezhnev told him that the gunman had fired at the wrong car, the attack had been directed at Brezhnev.

In 1975 he was the Commander Soyuz 19, which rendezvoused with an American space craft to undertake the first joint Soviet-American space mission. He was made a Hero of the Soviet Union a second time for this mission.

He stayed in the Soviet and then Russian space program until he retired as Chief Cosmonaut and a Major-General in 1992. 

He is also well regarded as an artist and in Arthur C. Clarkes book 2010, the main space ship is named 'Cosmonaut Alexei Leonov.

A brave man as all pioneers must be is gone, let us not forget his achievements.

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