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Cosmonaut Alexei Leonov has died aged 85

Alexei Leonov, the first person ever to spacewalk, who trained with Yuri Gagarin, the first human in space, has died aged 85.

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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