Alexei Leonov died: world’s first spacewalker, Alexei Leonov’s Wiki, Age, Career, Death and Facts You Need To Know About Him

Alexei Leonov Biography

Alexei Leonov, who was 85 years old, was born in Listvyanka, West Siberian Krai, Russian SFSR. In 1948, his family moved to Kaliningrad. In 1957, Leonov graduated from the Chuguev military pilots’ academy in the Ukrainian SSR.

Alexei Leonov
Alexei Leonov

Alexei Leonov Career

Alexei Leonov was one of the 20 Soviet Air Force pilots selected to be part of the first cosmonaut training group in 1960. Leonov was a member of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union. His walk-in space was original to have taken place on the Voskhod 1 mission, but this was canceled, and the historic event happened on the Voskhod 2 flight instead. He was outside the spacecraft for 12 minutes and nine seconds on 18 March 1965, connected to the craft by a 4.8-meter (16 ft) tether. At the end of the spacewalk, Leonov’s spacesuit had inflated in the vacuum of space to the point where he could not re-enter the airlock. He opened a valve to allow some of the suit’s pressure to bleed off and was barely able to get back inside the capsule. Leonov had spent eighteen months undergoing intensive weightlessness training for the mission.

In 1968, Alexei Leonov was selected to be the commander of a circumlunar Soyuz 7K-L1 flight.

He was also selected to be the first Soviet person to land on the Moon, aboard the LOK/N1 spacecraft. However, the plan was canceled.

Leonov was to have commanded the next mission to Salyut 1, but this was scrapped after the deaths of the Soyuz 11 crew members, and the space station was lost.

Leonov’s second trip into space was similarly significant: he commanded the Soviet half of the 1975 Apollo-Soyuz mission  – Soyuz 19 – the first joint space mission between the Soviet Union and the United States

From 1976 to 1982, Leonov was the commander of the cosmonaut team (“Chief Cosmonaut”) and deputy director of the Yuri Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Center, where he oversaw crew training. He also edited the cosmonaut newsletter, Neptune. He retired in 1992.

Leonov was an accomplished artist whose published books include albums of his artistic works and works he did in collaboration with his friend Andrei Sokolov.

In 2001, he was a vice president of Moscow-based Alfa-Bank and an adviser to the first deputy of the Board.


News Key points

  • Alexei Leonov has died due to a long illness in Moscow, Russia
  •  He was the first to perform an activity outside of the spacecraft  
  • Return to earth nearly ended in tragedy after the cosmonauts crashed
  • He was twice awarded Russia’s highest honor, the Hero of the Soviet Union 

Leonov trained together with Gagarin and was selected to perform the first spacewalk as the Soviet Union and the United States, Cold War foes on Earth, were locked in a frantic race to conquer space.


In 1965, Alexei Leonov made history when he left a spacecraft during the Voskhod 2 mission for a spacewalk that lasted 12 minutes and nine seconds.

“I gently pulled myself out and kicked off from the vessel”, Leonov, then a sprightly 80-year-old, said in 2015.

“(There was) an inky black, stars everywhere and the sun so bright I could barely stand it”, he added.

Tethered to the craft with a 16-foot long cord, he gazed in wonder at Earth’s geography, seeing his motherland perfectly visible.

“I filmed the Earth, perfectly round, the Caucasus, Crimea, the Volga. It was gorgeous”, he said.

Soviet cosmonauts Alexei Leonov and Valery Kubasov can be seen leaving for the Apollo-Soyuz docking mission in 1975.

Alexei Leonov
Alexei Leonov

Leonov was the first astronaut to ‘walk’ in space. Leonov and his ship managed this momentous feat 10 weeks before the US.

Leonov and another cosmonaut, pilot Pavel Belyayev, were rocketed almost 310 miles into orbit.

Back on the surface, millions followed the mission as it was beamed live on radio and television.

The mission was successful. However, their return to Earth nearly ended in a damaging scene when Leonov and Belyayev crash-landed in the Russian woods.

They accomplished the first spacewalk 10 weeks before the United States.

A decade later in 1975, Leonov commanded Soyuz 19 in the first joint space mission between the Soviet Union and the United States.

Alexei Leonov, who became a legend in Russia, celebrated his 85th birthday in May.

Alexei Leonov
Alexei Leonov

Commander of the Soviet crew of the Apollo-Soyuz, Alexei Leonov (left) and commander of the US crew of Apollo, Thomas Stafford (R), shake hands after the Apollo-Soyuz docking maneuvers.

Alexei Leonov Death

Legendary Russian cosmonaut, Alexei Leonov, has died in Moscow at the age of 85 due to a long battle with illness.

Alexei Leonov, a Soviet-era cosmonaut who was the first man to have a spacewalk in 1965, died in Moscow on Friday aged 85 after a long illness.

The Russian space agency Roscosmos felt sad announcing the death of ‘cosmonaut No 11’ who was twice decorated with the country’s top honor, the Hero of the Soviet Union.

Alexei Leonov was a legend in Russia and earned the country’s highest honor, the Hero of the Soviet Union, twice. Vladimir Putin called him a ‘worthy representative of the legendary team of Soviet cosmonauts,’ and he praised his ‘outstanding achievements’.

Alexei Leonov
Alexei Leonov

Before Alexei Leonov Death

Putin congratulated the Soviet-era cosmonaut at the time, calling him ‘a worthy representative of the legendary team of Soviet cosmonauts.’

“You have made a great contribution to Russian cosmonautics and have promoted its outstanding achievements”, Putin has said.

Comments on Alexei Leonov

Leonov’s assistant Natalia Filimonova said that he died at Moscow’s Burdenko hospital due to a long-term illness.

‘It’s a huge tragedy for us all”, said the wife of cosmonaut Boris Volynov, Tamara Volynova.

“Alexei is a unique person”, she said.

He will be laid to rest at a memorial cemetery just outside Moscow on Tuesday, officials said.

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