Friday, 11 October 2019

Alexei Leonov, the first spacewalker, has died .

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Alexei Leonov, the first human to conduct a spacewalk, has died, according to a statement from Russia's Roscosmos space agency released today (Oct. 11).
Leonov died at the Burdenko Hospital in Moscow after a long illness, the Russian news agency ITAR-Tass reported. He will be buried at the Federal Military Memorial Cemetery on Oct. 15, the agency added.
Leonov conducted his historic spacewalk on March 18, 1965 as part of the Voskhod 2 mission. He was lucky to survive the experience. Although the Soviet Union kept the details of the mission under wraps, Leonov's spacesuit inflated during the walk, oxygen levels in the spacecraft itself skyrocketed, and a landing went awry deposited the crew in Siberia.
Diagram of Leonov's spacewalk.

"It was so quiet I could even hear my heart beat," Leonov told a British news agency of his spacewalk long after the event. "I was surrounded by stars and was floating without much control. I will never forget the moment. I also felt an incredible sense of responsibility."

In May, Leonov turned 85, the day after cosmonauts Oleg Kononenko and Alexey Ovchinin conducted a spacewalk far longer and more routine than Leonov's first 12-minute foray. Kononenko and Ovchinin decorated their spacesuits to honor the Russian hero.
Leonov died as two NASA astronauts, Christina Koch and Andrew Morgan, worked outside the International Space Station on the second of five spacewalks to replace old solar array batteries. Another five NASA spacewalks and one Russian spacecraft are scheduled for the coming weeks.
"We're saddened by the loss of legendary Roscosmos cosmonaut Alexei Leonov who became the first human to walk in space on March 18, 1965," NASA officials wrote in a Twitter statement. "His venture into the vacuum of space began the history of extravehicular activity that makes today's Space Station maintenance possible."

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