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    'Man Has Gone Out Into Space': Seven Facts About Legendary Cosmonaut Leonov

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    Alexei Leonov was the first human to make a spacewalk outside a spacecraft, exiting the craft for over 12 minutes. On May 30, the legendary Soviet cosmonaut turns 82. On his birthday, Sputnik decided to collect some interesting facts about him and his first trip into outer space.

    1. Alexei Leonov was born in 1934 in the small Siberian village of Listvyanka. He grew up in a very large peasant family in which he was the eighth child. His father, a railway electrician from Donbass moved to Siberia to live with his grandfather who was exiled to the region for his participation in the revolutionary events of 1905.

    2. Technology was not the only passion of the cosmonaut. Leonov was also fond of sports, including fencing, cycling, and athletics. He was also very good in painting and developed into a great talent in this field.

    3. Thanks to his artistic talent, he was able to provide a unique view of how space looks like, because at that time images made by a camera were only black and white. Leonov painted wonderful pictures, capturing the colors present in the cosmic landscapes spectrum.
    It is difficult to make images in space as they require special optics and a peculiar refraction of light rays. Leonov was able to reproduce the smallest details, as well as technical features of space equipment and costumes.

    Cosmonaut Alexei Leonov
    © Sputnik/ RIA Novosti
    Cosmonaut Alexei Leonov

    4. Leonov's main task during his spacewalk was to film his surroundings with a video camera and take pictures with a micro camera through a tiny hole in his suit the size of a button. Leonov successfully fulfilled the first task, but failed to take any pictures: due to a deformation of his suit he couldn't reach a small rope needed to activate the shutter. A pneumatic hanger placed on the end of the rope caught on the hatch door and came off when he was leaving the spacecraft.

    5. Leonov's suit, while deemed safe for flight on earth, almost killed him during the flight. At the end of the spacewalk, when he wanted to return to the airlock, his suit's pressure was too high. In order to re-enter the capsule, he had to manually deflate it. Eventually he managed to get back to the spaceship, but the situation was extraordinary and he was lucky to stay alive.

    Alexey Leonov's equipment being inspected before spacecraft take-off
    © Sputnik/ B. Grachev
    Alexey Leonov's equipment being inspected before spacecraft take-off

    6. Leonov went to space twice. He was awarded two stars of the Hero of the Soviet Union, the Order of Lenin and the Red Star. He is also an honorary citizen of thirty Russian and foreign cities.

    7. Nowadays, the cosmonaut lives in Moscow. In 2014, Russian President Vladimir Putin awarded him with the Order "For Merit to the Fatherland."

    Russian cosmonauts commander Alexei Leonov (L) and V. Kubasov wave to the people while getting in their spaceship Soyuz ready to be launched 15 July 1975 from Baïkonour
    © AFP 2017/ TASS
    Russian cosmonauts commander Alexei Leonov (L) and V. Kubasov wave to the people while getting in their spaceship Soyuz ready to be launched 15 July 1975 from Baïkonour

    Related:

    Into the Void: Remembering Alexey Leonov’s First Spacewalk
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    cosmonaut, space, Alexei Leonov, Russia
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