Alexei Leonov’s First Spacewalk

Alexei Leonov, the first person to walk in space, passed away last week

Leonov flew on the crewed spacecraft Voskhod 2 with copilot Pavel Belyayev in March 1965; during that mission, he left the ship and spent just over 12 minutes in space, becoming the first astronaut to do so.

The spacewalk was a harrowing affair. Leonov’s body temperature spiked, and his spacesuit had inflated so much that he couldn’t control it. He attempted to deflate it, but the quick depressurization nearly gave him the bends. He needed to re-enter the spacecraft the wrong way.

The re-entry didn’t go so well either; they needed to manually control the spacecraft, sent themselves far off course, and ended up in a deserted forest surrounded by aggressive wolves and bears. After the rescuers arrived, the two cosmonauts still needed to ski to safety. Still, Leonov had achieved a world first, the first time a human had walked in outer space.

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