Alexei Leonov obituary

Russian cosmonaut who was the first person to walk in space

On 18 March 1965, 90 minutes after their Voskhod-3KD capsule’s launch from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan, and at the end of the first of their 17 orbits around the Earth, the Soviet cosmonaut Pavel “Pasha” Belyayev slapped his fellow cosmonaut Alexei Leonov on the back and said: “Go!”

Leonov entered the airlock and, after final safety procedures, opened the hatch. In doing so he became the first person in history to walk in space. His walk lasted for 12 minutes and nine seconds and it would be nearly three months before the astronaut Ed White became the first American space walker.

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