Cosmonaut Alexei Leonov has died aged 85

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He died at Moscow’s Burdenko hospital on Friday after a long illness. He stepped outside his spacecraft for over 12 minutes and floated around, attached by a  by a 4.8m tether, in 1965. “”I was surrounded by stars and was floating without much control. I will never forget the moment. I also felt an incredible sense of responsibility. (…) Only out there can you feel the greatness – the huge size of all that surrounds us,” he said remembering the moment after achievement. However, there was an incident during the spacewalk operation: his spacesuit inflated and he struggled to get back in the spaceship.

walk-in-space-artist-vision
Walk in space – artist vision

A decade later, he went on to become the commander of Soyuz-Apollo, the first ever joint US-Soviet mission in 1975. After his space career with the Soviet programme, Leonov moved into private business as well as serving in a number of political positions. He was also a painter, creating hundreds of paintings and wrote scientific works and biographical books. President Vladimir Putin said he admired the astronaut’s courage.

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