Alexey Leonov

Alexey Leonov

Infobox Astronaut
name =Alexey Arkhipovich Leonov

type =Cosmonaut
caption = Alexey Leonov (right) with astronaut Donald K. "Deke" Slayton during the Apollo-Soyuz Test Project (1975).
nationality =Russian
status =Retirement
date_birth =birth date and age|1934|5|30
place_birth =Listvyanka, Kemerovo Oblast, USSR
occupation =Fighter pilot, Cosmonaut
rank =General, Soviet Air Force
selection =Air Force Group 1
time =7d 00h 32 m
mission =Voskhod 2, Soyuz 19
insignia =

Alexey Arkhipovich Leonov ( _ru. Алексе́й Архи́пович Лео́нов), (born May 30, 1934 in Listvyanka, Kemerovo Oblast, USSR), is a retired Soviet/Russian cosmonaut and Air Force General who, on March 18, 1965, became the first human to walk in space.


Leonov was one of the twenty air force pilots selected as the first cosmonaut group in 1960. His spacewalk was originally to have taken place on the Vostok 11 mission, but this was cancelled, and the historic event happened on the Voskhod 2 flight instead. He was outside the spacecraft for 12 minutes on March 18, 1965, connected to the craft by a five-foot tether. At the end of the 20-minute spacewalk, Leonov's spacesuit had inflated in the vacuum of space to the point where he could not reenter the airlock. He opened a valve to allow some of the suit's pressure to bleed off, and was barely able to get back inside the capsule. Leonov had spent some eighteen months undergoing intense weightlessness training for the mission.

In 1968, Leonov was selected to be commander of a circumlunar Soyuz flight. However as all unmanned test flights of this project failed, and the Apollo 8 mission already gave that point in the Space Race to the USA, the flight was cancelled. He was also selected to be the first Soviet person to land on the Moon, aboard the LOK/N1 spacecraft. This project was also cancelled. (Incidentally, the design required a risky spacewalk between lunar vehicles, something that contributed to his selection). Leonov was to have been commander of the ill-fated 1971 Soyuz 11 mission to Salyut 1, the first manned space station, but his crew was replaced with the backup after Cosmonaut Valery Kubasov was suspected to have tuberculosis.

Leonov was to have commanded the next mission to Salyut 1, but this was scrapped after the deaths of the Soyuz 11 crew members, and the space station was lost. The next two Salyuts (actually the military Almaz station) were lost at launch or failed soon after, and Leonov's crew stood by. By the time Salyut 4 reached orbit Leonov had been switched to a more prestigious project.

Leonov's second trip into space was similarly significant — he commanded the Soviet side of the Apollo-Soyuz mission, Soyuz 19, the first joint space mission between Soviet Union and USA.

From 1976 to 1982, Leonov was the commander of the cosmonaut team ("Chief Cosmonaut"), and deputy director of the Yuri Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Center, where he oversaw crew training. He also edited the cosmonaut newsletter "Neptune". He retired in 1991.

Leonov is an accomplished artist whose published books include albums of his artistic works and works he did in collaboration with his friend Andrei Sokolov. Leonov has taken colored pencils and paper into space, where he has sketched the Earth and drawn portraits of the Apollo astronauts who flew with him during the Apollo-Soyuz Test Project. [cite web |url= |title=Alexei Leonov: winner of the 2005 IAAA Lucien Rudaux Memorial Award |accessdate=2007-07-02 ]
Arthur C. Clarke writes in his note to ' that, after a 1968 screening of ', 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.Clarke kept the autographed sketch of this painting, which Leonov made after the screening, hanging on his office wall. [Clarke, "2010: Odyssey Two", Author's Note, pp. xvii-xviii. Clarke describes the painting itself on page 76. (ISBN 0345413970)]

In 2001, he was a vice president of Moscow-based Alfa Bank and an advisor to the first deputy of the Board. [cite web |url= |title=Aleksei Leonov and Alexander Gafin become members of the American Pushkin Academy of Art |accessdate=2007-07-08 |format= |date=2001-02-23 |work= ]

In 2004, he and former American astronaut David Scott began work on a dual biography / history of the Space Race between the United States and the Soviet Union. The book, "Two Sides of the Moon: Our Story of the Cold War Space Race" was published in 2006. Neil Armstrong and Tom Hanks both wrote introductions to the book.

Leonov was also a contributor to the 2007 book "Into That Silent Sea" by Colin Burgess and Francis French, which describes his life and space career.


*Arthur C. Clarke's book "" was dedicated to Leonov and Andrei Sakharov; the fictional spaceship "Cosmonaut Alexei Leonov" in the book was named after him.
*Alexey Leonov was decorated twice as the Hero of the Soviet Union (March 23, 1965 and 1975). He was also awarded the Order of Lenin, Order of the Red Star, numerous medals and foreign orders. He bears the title of the Hero of Socialist Labor of Bulgaria and Hero of Vietnam.
*At an ASTP press conference, Leonov stated (in English) that, while in the United States for ASTP training, he wanted to visit Hollywood, because he had aspirations of being a movie star. (He then joked, "I don't want [to be a movie star] ... Tom Stafford want!")
*Alexey Leonov along with Rusty Schweickart, Vitaly Sevastyanov and Georgi Grechko established the Association of Space Explorers in 1984. Membership is open to all individuals who have flown in space.


*Alexey Leonov on Soviet Union 1965 Stamp 10 kopeks
*Soviet Union 1965: [ ] , 6 kopeks
*Soviet Union 1965: [ ] with Pavel Belyayev
*Albania 1965: [] twice 6 and 20, with Pavel Belyayev
*Albania 1965: [ blue] and [ green]
*Bulgaria 1965: [ ] with Pavel Belyayev
*Bulgaria 1965: [ ] , twice 2 (with Pavel Belyayev) and 20 st
*Cuba 1965: [ ] , twice
*Czechoslovakia 1965 (twice): []
*DDR 1965: [] ,
*DDR 1965: []
*Hungary 1965: []
*Togo 1965: []
*Vietnam 1965: []

*Bulgaria 1966: [] , 13 st, with Pavel Belyayev
*Ecuador 1966: []
*Mali 1966: [] twice
*Mauretania 1966: [] , 200f
*Niger 1966: []

*Mongolia 1969: [ ]



*cite book |last=Leonov |first=Aleksei Arkhipovich |authorlink= |coauthors=Sokolov, Andrei Konstantinovich |others= |title=Zhdite nas, zvezdy : the stars are awaiting us |year=1967 |publisher=Mol. Gvardiia |location=Moskva |isbn= ru icon en icon [] [] :Russian title: Ждите Нас, Звезды.:Text and captions in Russian and English; table of contents is in English.:Album of space art.
*cite book |last=Scott |first=David |authorlink=David Scott |coauthors=Alexei Leonov |others=with Christine Toomey |title=Two Sides of the Moon: Our Story of the Cold War Space Race |year=2006 |publisher=St. Martin's Griffin |location= |id=ISBN 0312308663

External links

* [ A video of his spacewalk]
* [ The Voskhod 2 mission revisited]
* [ Science fiction art] by Leonov and Sokolov. Extensive gallery, with annotation. ru icon

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