16 Facts About Alexi Leonov


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

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

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

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

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On 30 October 1957, Alexi 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.

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Alexi 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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Alexi 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.

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Alexi Leonov was outside the spacecraft for 12 minutes and nine seconds on 18 March 1965, connected to the craft by a 4.

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

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

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Alexi Leonov took coloured pencils and paper into space, where he sketched the Earth, becoming the first artist in space, and drew portraits of the Apollo astronauts who flew with him during the 1975 Apollo–Soyuz Test Project.

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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.

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

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

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

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

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