World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article

Alexey Leonov

Article Id: WHEBN0000195645
Reproduction Date:

Title: Alexey Leonov  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Voskhod 2, Apollo–Soyuz Test Project, Extravehicular activity, List of spacewalks and moonwalks 1965–1999, Spaceflight/Selected biography/August 2008
Collection: 1934 Births, 1965 in Spaceflight, 20Th-Century Russian Painters, 21St-Century Russian Painters, Double Heroes of the Soviet Union, Heroes of Socialist Labour, Honorary Members of the Russian Academy of Arts, Living People, People from Kemerovo Oblast, People from Tisulsky District, Pilot-Cosmonauts of the Ussr, Recipients of the Lenin Komsomol Prize, Recipients of the Order "for Merit to the Fatherland", 4Th Class, Recipients of the Order for Service to the Homeland in the Armed Forces of the Ussr, 3Rd Class, Recipients of the Order for Service to the Homeland in the Armed Forces, 3Rd Class, Recipients of the Order of Friendship, Recipients of the Order of Georgi Dimitrov, Recipients of the Order of Karl Marx, Recipients of the Order of Lenin, Twice, Recipients of the Order of Merit (Ukraine), 3Rd Class, Recipients of the Order of Merit for the Fatherland, 4Th Class, Recipients of the Order of the Red Star, Recipients of the Ussr State Prize, Russian Cosmonauts, Russian Explorers, Soviet Air Force Generals, Soviet Cosmonauts, Soviet Major Generals, Soviet Painters, Space Artists
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

Alexey Leonov

Alexey Leonov
Alexey Leonov in April 1974
Soviet cosmonaut
The first human to conduct a space walk
Nationality Soviet, Russian
Status Retired
Born (1934-05-30) 30 May 1934
Listvyanka, West Siberian Krai, USSR
Other occupation
Fighter pilot, Cosmonaut
Rank Major General, Soviet Air Force
Time in space
7d 00h 32 m
Selection Air Force Group 1
Total EVAs
Total EVA time
12 minutes, 9 seconds
Missions Voskhod 2, Soyuz 19/ASTP
Mission insignia

Alexey Arkhipovich Leonov (Russian: Алексе́й Архи́пович Лео́нов; IPA: ; born 30 May 1934 in Listvyanka, West Siberian Krai, Soviet Union) is a retired Soviet/Russian cosmonaut and Air Force Major General. On 18 March 1965, he became the first human to conduct extra-vehicular activity (EVA), exiting the capsule during the Voskhod 2 mission for a 12-minute spacewalk.


  • Biography 1
  • Honours and awards 2
  • Legacy 3
    • Stamps 3.1
  • Notes 4
  • References 5
  • External links 6


Alexey Leonov (left, back row) with fellow cosmonauts in 1965
Leonov with Valery Kubasov, his Soyuz 19 crewmate (1975)

Leonov was one of the 20 Soviet Air Force pilots selected to be part of the first cosmonaut group in 1960. Like all the Soviet cosmonauts, Leonov was a member of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union. His walk in space was originally to have taken place on the Vostok 11 mission, but this was cancelled, 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 5.35-meter 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.

As of March 2015, Leonov is the last survivor of the five cosmonauts in the Voskhod programme.

In 1968, Leonov was selected to be commander of a circumlunar Soyuz flight. Since all unmanned test flights of this project failed, and the Apollo 8 mission had already given that step in the Space Race to the United States, the flight was cancelled. He was also selected to be the first Soviet person to land on the Moon, aboard the LOK/N1 spacecraft. This project was also cancelled. (The design required a risky spacewalk between lunar vehicles, something that contributed to his selection.) Leonov was to have been commander of the 1971 Soyuz 11 mission to Salyut 1, the first manned space station, but his crew was replaced with the backup after the cosmonaut Valery Kubasov was suspected to have contracted tuberculosis.

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. The next two Salyuts (actually the military Almaz station) were lost at launch or failed soon after, and Leonov's crew stood by. By the time Salyut 4 reached orbit, Leonov had been switched to a more prestigious project.

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 1991.

Leonov's painting Near the Moon (1967)

Leonov is an accomplished artist whose published books include albums of his artistic works and works he did in collaboration with his friend Andrei Sokolov. Leonov took coloured pencils and paper into space, where he sketched the Earth and drew portraits of the Apollo astronauts who flew with him during the Apollo-Soyuz Test Project.[1] Arthur C. Clarke wrote in his notes to 2010: Odyssey Two that, after a 1968 screening of 2001: A Space Odyssey, Leonov pointed out to him that the alignment of the Moon, Earth, and Sun shown in the opening is essentially the same as that in Leonov's 1967 painting Near the Moon, although the painting's diagonal framing of the scene was not replicated in the film. Clarke kept an autographed sketch of this painting—which Leonov made after the screening, hanging on his office wall.[2] In 2001, he was a vice president of Moscow-based Alfa-Bank and an adviser to the first deputy of the Board.[3]

In 2004, Leonov and former American astronaut David Scott began work on a dual biography/history of the Space Race between the United States and the Soviet Union. Titled Two Sides of the Moon: Our Story of the Cold War Space Race, it was published in 2006. Neil Armstrong and Tom Hanks both wrote introductions to the book.

Leonov was also a contributor to the 2007 book Into That Silent Sea by Colin Burgess and Francis French, which describes his life and career in space exploration.

Honours and awards

Foreign awards:

  • Hero of Socialist Labour (People's Republic of Bulgaria, 1965)
  • Hero of Vietnam
  • Hero of Labour (Democratic Republic of Vietnam, 1966)
  • Order of Karl Marx (German Democratic Republic, 1966)
  • Order of Merit, 3rd class (Ukraine, 12 April 2011) - for his significant personal contribution to the development of space industry, advances in the creation and implementation of space systems and technologies, professional excellence
  • Medal A. Becker.
  • Order "For Merit", 1st class (Syria, 1966)

Public organizations:

  • "Gold Medal partisan" (Italy, 1967)
  • Ludwig Nobel Prize (2007)
  • Order of Saint Constantine the Great (Union of the Golden Knights of the Order of St. Constantine the Great)
  • Order "Golden Star" (Foundation Heroes of the Soviet Union and Heroes of the Russian Federation together with the organizing committee of the International Forum "The potential of the nation").
  • Order the "Pride of Russia" (Foundation for the "Pride of the Fatherland", 2007).
  • National Award "To the glory of the Fatherland" in the "Glory to Russia" (International Academy of Social Sciences and International Academy of patronage, 2008).
  • Order "the glory of the Fatherland", 2nd class (2008)

Other awards and titles


Alexey Leonov (right) shares a moment with Anton Shkaplerov (left) in October 2011.
  • Arthur C. Clarke's novel 2010: Odyssey Two was dedicated to Leonov and Andrei Sakharov; the fictional spaceship Cosmonaut Alexei Leonov in the book was named after him.
  • Leonov wore a Russian Poljot "FMWF Strela" watch (a transliteration of СТРЕЛА, which actually means "Arrow") chronograph during his historic first space walk.
  • At an Apollo-Soyuz Test Project press conference, Leonov stated (in English) that, while in the United States for ASTP training, he wanted to visit Hollywood, because he had aspirations of being a movie star. (He then joked, "I don't want [to be a movie star] ... Tom Stafford want!")
  • Leonov, along with Association of Space Explorers in 1984. Membership is open to all people who have flown in outer space.
  • In the Borg.
  • Leonov is featured as a character in the 2013 Doctor Who comic book story "Space Oddity", published by IDW Publishing.


Alexey Leonov on 1965 USSR 10 kopek stamp.


  • Alexey Leonov on Soviet Union 1965 Stamp 10 kopeks
  • Soviet Union 1965, 6 kopeks
  • Soviet Union 1965 with Pavel Belyayev
  • Albania 1965 twice 6 and 20, with Pavel Belyayev
  • Albania 1965
  • Bulgaria 1965 with Pavel Belyayev
  • Bulgaria 1965 twice 2 (with Pavel Belyayev) and 20 st
  • Cuba 1965, twice
  • Czechoslovakia 1965 (twice):
  • DDR 1965
  • DDR 1965
  • Hungary 1965
  • Togo 1965
  • Vietnam 1965


  • Bulgaria 1966 13 st, with Pavel Belyayev
  • Ecuador 1966
  • Mali 1966, twice
  • Mauritania 1966, 200f
  • Niger 1966



  • Mongolia 1969


  • Soviet Union 1972 with Andrew Sokolov, series of six stamps, dedicated to the 15th anniversary of the space age (Soviet Union stamp catalogue #4162-4167) was out.


  1. ^ "Alexei Leonov: winner of the 2005 IAAA Lucien Rudaux Memorial Award". Archived from the original on 1 July 2007. Retrieved 2007-07-02. 
  2. ^ Clarke, 2010: Odyssey Two, Author's Note, pp. xvii-xviii. Clarke describes the painting itself on page 76 of the initial hardback edition. (ISBN 0-345-41397-0)
  3. ^ "Aleksei Leonov and Alexander Gafin become members of the American Pushkin Academy of Art". 2001-02-23. Retrieved 2007-07-08. 


  • Leonov, Alexey Arkhipovich; Sokolov, Andreĭ K (1967). Ждите Нас, ЗвездыZhdite Nas, Zvezdy: The Stars Are Awaiting Us (National government publication) (in Russian and English (bilingual)). Мол. Гвардия (Mol. Gvardii︠a︡ )Moscow. Retrieved 2014-10-19. 
Text and captions in Russian and English; table of contents is in English.
Album of space art.
  • Rincon, Paul; Lachmann, Michael (October 13, 2014). "The First Spacewalk How the first human to take steps in outer space nearly didn't return to Earth". BBC News. BBC News. Archived from the original on 2014-10-14. Retrieved 2014-10-19. 
  • "Testing of rocket and space technology - the business of my life" Events and facts - A.I. Ostashev, Korolev, 2001.[2];
  • "Bank of the Universe" - edited by Boltenko A. C., Kiev, 2014., publishing house "Phoenix", ISBN 978-966-136-169-9
  • A.I. Ostashev, Sergey Pavlovich Korolyov - The Genius of the 20th Century — 2010 M. of Public Educational Institution of Higher Professional Training MGUL ISBN 978-5-8135-0510-2.
  • "S. P. Korolev. Encyclopedia of life and creativity" - edited by C. A. Lopota, RSC Energia. S. P. Korolev, 2014 ISBN 978-5-906674-04-3

External links

  • A video of his spacewalk
  • The Voskhod 2 mission revisited
  • Science fiction art by Leonov and Sokolov. Extensive gallery, with annotation. (Russian)
  • I could see Armstrong bouncing on the moon" – Alexey Leonov
This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.

Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from Project Gutenberg are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.