The Russian space agency Roscosmos, as most of you know, has announced the death of cosmonaut Alexei Leonov, who died last Friday at Moscow’s Burdenko Hospital following a long illness. He was 85.
If handling stress under extreme conditions is a prerequisite for someone who is going to the Moon, Leonov had already proven his mettle when the Soviet Union chose him as the man to pilot its lunar lander to the surface. The failure of the N-1 rocket put an end to that plan, but Leonov will always be associated with the 1965 mission aboard Voskhod 2 shared with Pavel Belyayev. This was the spacewalk mission, conducted successfully before NASA could manage the feat 10 weeks later.
Image: A man and his art. Alexei Leonov was as attracted to drawing and painting as he was to flying, creating some work while in orbit. Credit: Roscosmos.
The problems Leonov had with his bulky spacesuit as it ballooned out of shape are widely known, making his re-entry into the capsule a dicey affair, though one he managed with skilful use of a bleed valve in the suit’s lining. But consider everything else that went wrong: The charge fired to remove the ...