This Day, That Year – March 18Sat 18 Mar 2023
This day in history we feature Alexei Leonov. The first person to walk in space, leaving his spacecraft Voskhod 2 for 12 minutes on this day in 1965.
Trivia – Alexei Leonov
Alexei Arkhipovich Leonov was a Soviet and Russian cosmonaut, Air Force major general, writer, and artist. On 18 March 1965, he became the first person to conduct a spacewalk, exiting the capsule during the Voskhod 2 mission for 12 minutes and 9 seconds. He was also selected to be the first Soviet person to land on the Moon although the project was cancelled. In July 1975, Leonov commanded the Soyuz capsule in the Apollo-Soyuz mission, which docked in space for two days with an American Apollo capsule.
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Leonov was one of the 20 Soviet Air Forces pilots selected to be part of the first cosmonaut training group in 1960. As with most cosmonauts, Leonov was a member of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union. His walk in space was originally to have taken place on the Voskhod 1 mission, but this was cancelled, and the historic event happened on the Voskhod 2 flight instead. At the end of the spacewalk, Leonov’s spacesuit had inflated in the vacuum of space to the point where he could not re-enter the airlock. He opened a valve to allow some of the suit’s pressure to bleed off and was barely able to get back inside the capsule. While on the mission, Leonov drew a small sketch of an orbital sunrise, producing the first ever work of art made in outer space. Leonov had spent eighteen months undergoing weightlessness training for the mission. In 1968, Leonov was selected to be commander of a circumlunar Soyuz 7K-L1 flight. This was cancelled because of delays in achieving a reliable circumlunar flight and the Apollo 8 mission had already achieved that step in the Space Race. He was also selected to be the first Soviet person to land on the Moon, aboard the LOK/N1 spacecraft. This project was also cancelled. Leonov was to have been commander of the 1971 Soyuz 11 mission to Salyut 1, the first crewed space station, but his crew was replaced with the backup after one of the members, cosmonaut Valery Kubasov, was suspected to have contracted. Leonov was to have commanded the next mission to Salyut 1, but this was scrapped after the deaths of the Soyuz 11 crew members, and the space station was lost. The next two Salyuts were lost at launch or failed soon after, and Leonov’s crew stood by. By the time Salyut 4 reached orbit, Leonov had been switched to a more prestigious project. eonov’s second trip into space was as commander of Soyuz 19, the Soviet half of the 1975 Apollo-Soyuz mission—the first joint space mission between the Soviet Union and the United States. From 1976 to 1982, Leonov was the commander of the cosmonaut team (“Chief Cosmonaut”) and deputy director of the Yuri Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Center, where he oversaw crew training. He also edited the cosmonaut newsletter Neptune. He retired in 1992.
Source – Wikipedia