Alexei Leonov was the first human being to stroll in area, and the man who would have been first on the moon had the Soviets overwhelmed the Americans. Decades after his legendary spacewalk and years after his demise, Leonov’s achievements, his braveness continues to bear a particular place in historical past.
Leonov began coaching for his spacewalk in 1963. In 1965, the spacecraft took off. He was subjected to lengthy durations of weightlessness and underwent a rigorous programme of swimming and operating. A particular go well with and helmet had been crafted to face up to excessive circumstances in area.
However, not all was nicely as simply eight minutes after making historical past, his spacewalk took a life-threatening flip. His area go well with inflated to a degree the place he couldn’t transfer or return into the spacecraft. As a outcome, his physique temperature took a flight, thrusting him shut to heatstroke.
A talented newbie painter, Leonov after he opened the outer hatch and entered area, over 161km above the Earth’s floor, discovered the vista “indescribably beautiful.” He together with Belyayev returned to Earth the subsequent day.
In his autobiography Two Sides of the Moon: Our Story of the Cold War Space Race, co-authored with an American astronaut named David Scott, Leonov wrote,“For the first eighteen seconds after lift-off, if anything had gone wrong with the rocket we would not have survived.” Leonov had informed the London Observer the identical yr, “I felt an incredible sense of responsibility. Of course, I did not know that I was about to experience the most difficult moments of my life – getting back into the capsule,”
In 2015, TIME photographer Marco Grob visited Leonov for a portrait session. “I don’t remember anything as well as I remember the sound—this remarkable silence. You can hear your heartbeat and you can hear yourself breathe. Nothing else can accurately represent what it sounds like when a human being is in the middle of this abyss,” he informed Grob.
Also, the commander of the Russian portion of the joint Apollo-Soyuz mission in 1975, Leonov died on October 11, at age 85, after a protracted sickness.