Aleksey Leonov (85) died: First spacewalker ever


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Source (Dutch only): Eerste ruimtewandelaar Aleksej Leonov overleden (85)

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First spacewalker Aleksey Leonov died (85)

NOS News - Abroad - Yesterday, 14:54 - Adjusted Yesterday, 16:25


The first person to walk in space died. Aleksey Leonov was 85 years old, the Russian space agency Roskosmos reports.

Leonov was a pilot in the Soviet Air Force in the 1960s. He left his spacecraft on 18 March 1965. The walk lasted 12 minutes.

According to director Rob van den Berg of the Space Expo in Noordwijk, Leonov was the second largest space hero of the Soviet Union after Yuri Gagarin. "He was to the Soviets what Neil Armstrong was to the Americans in the 60s. He might also have been the first Russian on the moon if the Soviets had managed to put a man on the moon."

“He survived because of his cold-blooded attitude.
- Rob van den Berg, Space Expo

Leonov owed his heroic status in part to his cold-blooded performance during that very first space walk in 1965. After a quarter of an hour in a vacuum, his suit was so overblown that it no longer fitted in the airlock. Van den Berg: "By letting some air out of his suit he eventually succeeded to get back in, but that is dangerous, you have to let just enough air escape. He survived because of his coolness."

In 1965 both the U.S. and the Soviet Union tried to make the first space walk to their name.

Leonov made his last space flight in 1975. With a Russian Soyuz he linked to an American Apollo capsule, the symbolic end of the space race between the two countries. He then became the head of the Russian cosmonaut team.

Space journalist Piet Smolders met the astronaut several times. "A very professional person", he describes him. "But also a very humane person, a special combination of characteristics. He was also a great pilot and he did very important things. And he also made beautiful paintings."

In 2015 Smolders saw the cosmonaut for the last time. "Then I asked him if he was disappointed about anything. He said: that I've never been near the moon. We were ready for it. We were trained, the spacecraft were there, but the leaders pulled the plug."

Aleksey Leonov is to be buried in a military cemetery outside Moscow.

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Additional info:
Alexei Leonov - Wikipedia
Cosmonaut Alexei Leonov, Who Was First to Walk in Space, Dies at 85
Alexei Leonov Biography
Cause of Yuri Gagarin death finally revealed by fellow cosmonaut --

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First spacewalker Alexei Leonov dies at 85
Alexey Leonov Marina Lystseva/TASS

Alexey Leonov © Marina Lystseva/TASS

MOSCOW, October 11, 2019 - The man who made history by performing the first-ever spacewalk in 1965, Soviet cosmonaut Alexei Leonov, has died in Moscow, his aide Natalya Filimonova told TASS on Friday. Leonov was 85.

Leonov passed away at the Burdenko Hospital after a long illness, Filimonova said. He will be buried at the Federal Military Memorial Cemetery (in Mytishchi, the Moscow Region) on October 15.

The Cosmonauts Training Center has confirmed Leonov’s death.

On May 30, 2019 Leonov celebrated his 85th birthday. Members of the International Space Station’s crew Oleg Kononenko and Alexei Ovchinin dedicated their May 29 spacewalk to Leonov’s jubilee. Inscriptions on their spacesuits read "Leonov N. 1" and "Happy Birthday, Alexei Arkhipovich". Also, they took Leonov’s portrait outside the ISS.

Leonov made two space flights that lasted a total of seven days and 33 minutes. The first one was on March 18-19, 1965. Leonov was a co-pilot of the spacecraft Voskhod-2 (commander Pavel Belyayev). During that space mission Leonov performed the first-ever spacewalk. During his second space voyage on July 15-21, 1975 Leonov was the commander of the crew that participated in the first international docking of the Soviet Union’s Soyuz-19 spacecraft and the United States’ Apollo-18. The handshakes of Soviet and US crewmembers Alexei Leonov, Valery Kubasov, Vance Brand, Thomas Stafford and Donald Slayton in orbit went down in the history of space exploration.

Putin admired Leonov’s courage, held him in high esteem
Alexei Leonov  Valeriy Sharifulin/TASS

Alexei Leonov © Valeriy Sharifulin/TASS

ASHGABAT, October 11. /TASS/. Russian President Vladimir Putin shared a warm relationship with cosmonaut Alexei Leonov and admired his courage, presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov said in reply to a question from TASS.

"They knew each other very well. Putin held Leonov in high esteem. They had lengthy conversations many times. Putin always admired Leonov’s courage and believed he was a man among men, with a capital M," Peskov said, adding that Putin was deeply aggrieved by Leonov’s death.

Very soon the head of state will send a message of condolences to Leonov’s relatives and dear ones. Peskov was unable to say if Putin would attend Leonov’s funeral.

Russia to introduce genotype based technology for selecting astronauts in 2020-2021

© Alexander Shcherbak/TASS

MOSCOW, October 11, 2019 - A new technology for selecting future astronauts depending on their genetic radiation sensitivity is planned for introduction in 2020-2021, head of Russia’s Federal Biomedical Agency Vladimir Uyba told TASS.

"We have developed a technology for the selection of radiation resistant and radiosensitive individuals. Its introduction is planned for 2020-2021. The technology can be used to select teams working in conditions of radiation risks, including astronauts," Uyba said in an interview with the portal "Russia's Future. National Projects", operated by TASS.

The requirements for the level of health of astronauts may gradually change, Uyba noted.

"Before humans begin active exploration into deep space, it is necessary to assess genetic risks for future generations. We are planning special studies. Now, the meticulous work is underway to review instructions that determine the required level of health and necessary medical examinations," Uyba said.

According to him, the Federal Biomedical Agency has already conducted several large experiments and developed methods to adapt humans for long-distance space flights. The model of adaptation in space takes into account the characteristics and personal capabilities of the human body. "For example, different people can have different resistance to radiation, and it is very important in space, especially if we speak about deep space flights. We determine just the sensitivity to radiation in humans and we can select astronauts specifically for deep space flights, given this peculiarity of their bodies," he explained.
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