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Alexei Leonov 1934-2019

Posted: Tue Oct 15, 2019 3:23 pm
by brian livesey
The former Russian cosmonaut and the first man to walk in space has passed away in Moscow at the age of 85. It was on 18 March 1965 that Leonov became the first man to leave his spacecraft, on a tether, to carry out a 12-minute spacewalk.
While he was in space Leonov's spacesuit expanded in the vacuum, making it impossible to reenter the craft. Leonov opened a valve to release oxygen from his suit to allow it to shrink ( was the suit not tested in a vacuum chamber before launch? ), it was a potentially lethal procedure as it risked the effects of decompression.
It was Leonov's excursion into space that helped pave the way for doing maintenance activities on the International Space Station, etc. He was also a crew member on the Apollo-Soyuz flight in 1975.
Leonov came from a large peasant family in Siberia. His father, like many peasants, was consigned to one of Stalin's gulag prison camps, but survived to return to his family. Leonov is survived by his wife, daughter and two grandchildren. Canadian retired astronaut Chris Hatfield described him as "one of the finest people I have ever known."
Leonov came across as a likable character in the HORIZON documentary "The Cosmonauts", The programme acknowledged that it was the Soviets who pioneered manned spaceflight. Almost three months after Leonov's spacewalk, American astronaut, Ed White, performed the second spacewalk.

Re: Alexei Leonov 1934-2019

Posted: Tue Oct 15, 2019 6:16 pm
by RMSteele
Alexei Arkhipovich Leonov was the greatest of Russian cosmonauts. Actually born to a Siberian family, he epitomised the best in Russia: he was courageous, resourceful, comradely, generous and dutiful. I am sorry that I never got to meet him. I bought a ticket to see him talk a couple of years ago, but he never made it to the UK due to ill-health.
Through space, fire and wind, farewell old lad.
Bob