Published: Sat, October 12, 2019
Science | By

First spacewalker Alexei Leonov dies

First spacewalker Alexei Leonov dies

He gained prominence by performing the first-ever spacewalk for about 10 minutes, secured by a tether.

Tributes poured in from across the world on Friday, with Western space agencies and experts praising Leonov's contribution and admirers bidding him farewell.

"A tribute to Leonov as today is a spacewalk", Mission Control in Houston reported.

Though not as well known around the world as the first man in space, Yuri Gagarin, Leonov was a household name in Russian Federation.

Though less well known internationally than Yuri Gagarin, the first man in space, Leonov was a household name in his native Russian Federation and will be remembered in particular for his role in the 1965 Voskhod-2 mission.

Leonov died at a Moscow hospital on Friday after a long illness.

They wore placards on their spacesuit backpacks, one saying "Leonov No. 1" and the other "Happy Birthday, Alexey Arkhipovich".

Leonov might have become the Soviet Union's first moonwalker, in fact, had his country's lunar-landing effort not been cancelled in the wake of Apollo 11's triumphant moon landing by Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin on July 20, 1969.

Stanley Kubrick's 1968 film 2001: A Space Odyssey included recordings of Leonov's breathing in space.

The 1965 mission was also celebrated in a 2017 Russian film, "The Spacewalker" where Leonov acted as consultant.

Alexei Leonov was known as Cosmonaut No 11. "His early exploits in space set the stage for later accomplishments by both the Soviet Union and the United States".

"It's a huge tragedy for us all", said the wife of cosmonaut Boris Volynov, Ms Tamara Volynova, who wrote a book about cosmonauts.

It is worth noting that TASS with reference to the astronaut's assistant reports that Leonov will be buried on October 15, at the memorial cemetery in Mytishchi.

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