17 Facts About Alexei Leonov


In July 1975, Leonov commanded the Soyuz capsule in the Apollo-Soyuz mission, which docked in space for two days with an American Apollo capsule.


Alexei Leonov was born on 30 May 1934 in Listvyanka, West Siberian Krai, Russian SFSR.


Alexei Leonov's grandfather had been forced to relocate to Siberia for his role in the 1905 Russian Revolution.


Alexei Leonov's father rejoined the family in Kemerovo after he was released.


Alexei Leonov made his first solo flight in May 1955.


On 30 October 1957, Alexei Leonov graduated with an honours degree and was commissioned a lieutenant in the 113th Parachute Aviation Regiment, part of the 10th Engineering Aviation Division of the 69th Air Army in Kyiv.


Alexei Leonov was one of the 20 Soviet Air Forces pilots selected to be part of the first cosmonaut training group in 1960.

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Alexei Leonov's walk in space was originally to have taken place on the Voskhod 1 mission, but this was cancelled, and the historic event happened on the Voskhod 2 flight instead.


Alexei Leonov was outside the spacecraft for 12 minutes and nine seconds on 18 March 1965, connected to the craft by a 4.8-metre tether.


In 1968, Alexei Leonov was selected to be commander of a circumlunar Soyuz 7K-L1 flight.


The next two Salyuts were lost at launch or failed soon after, and Alexei Leonov's crew stood by.


From 1976 to 1982, Alexei Leonov was the commander of the cosmonaut team and deputy director of the Yuri Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Center, where he oversaw crew training.


Arthur C Clarke wrote in his notes to his 1982 novel 2010: Odyssey Two that, after a 1968 screening of 2001: A Space Odyssey, Leonov pointed out to him that the alignment of the Moon, Earth, and Sun shown in the opening is essentially the same as that in Leonov's 1967 painting Near the Moon, although the painting's diagonal framing of the scene was not replicated in the film.


Together with Valentin Selivanov, Alexei Leonov wrote the script for the 1980 science fiction film The Orion Loop.


Alexei Leonov was interviewed by Francis French for the 2007 book Into That Silent Sea by Colin Burgess and French.


Alexei Leonov died on 11 October 2019 after a long illness in Moscow.


Alexei Leonov was survived by his wife Svetlana Dozenko, daughter Oksana, and two grandchildren; his other daughter, Viktoria, died in 1996.