Leonov

The death was announced of Alexy Leonov. Or Alexei.

Any regular readers will know how much I enjoyed all the space stuff this summer, celebrating Apollo 11. We remember some of the old school astronauts and cosmonauts: John Glenn, Neil Armstrong, John Young, Yuri Gagarin, Valentina Tereshkova and Alexei Leonov. Few of the original heroes are still alive.

In 1965, Leonov was the first person ever to do a spacewalk. It nearly ended in tears when his suit expanded so much he could not get back into the capsule. The landing was also fraught with difficulties, and there is a great film about it: Spacewalk/Spacewalker.

Had it happened, Leonov would have been the first Russian on the Moon. As it was, he commanded the Soviet half of the joint Apollo-Soyuz mission.

In later life, he became the grand old man of Russian space.

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