Published: Sat, October 12, 2019
Sci-tech | By Patricia Wade

First human to walk in space, Cosmonaut Alexei Leonov, has died

First human to walk in space, Cosmonaut Alexei Leonov, has died

Tributes poured in from across the world on Friday, with Western space agencies and experts praising Leonov's contribution and admirers bidding him farewell. The rest will be carried out on October 16, 21, and 25, based on the current schedule, but since the first spacewalk already put the team ahead of schedule, the plans for later spacewalks could change.

Leonov was twice awarded the Hero of the Soviet Union title.

In 1975, he also took part in the historic Soyuz-Apollo spaceflight, which signalled the end of the Space Race.

His career as a cosmonaut started when he joined the Chuguyev Air Force School in Kharkov, Ukraine, to qualify as a parachute instructor in the Soviet Air Force. The first one was on March 18-19, 1965, in the spacecraft Voskhod-2, where he was the co-pilot. Once safely inside from the problematic spacewalk, the return to Earth did not go as planned either. Then the service module failed to separate and burnt on reentry. "He tried for the moon however we made it".

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Nasa broke into its live televised coverage of a spacewalk by two Americans outside the International Space Station to report Mr Leonov's death.

Leonov's modern-day successor, Oleg Kononenko, who was one of the two Russians on that spacewalk, told Rossiya-24 television on Friday that Leonov had tuned in to hear their congratulations from space.

Throughout his career, Leonov never stopped drawing and painting.

"A big, likeable character from the heroic era of space exploration", said Roger Highfield, a visiting professor at Oxford University's Dunn School of Pathology and a writer who had interviewed Leonov. Leonov published many books and his paintings, presenting his personal vision of space travel, have been shown worldwide.

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