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Aleksei Leonov (1934–2019), first person to walk in space

Getty Images / Space Frontiers

On March 18, 1965, he left his capsule for a 12-minute space walk

Aleksei Leonov was the first person to walk in space. The Russian cosmonaut was outside his capsule for 12 minutes on March 18, 1965, two and a half months before American astronaut Ed White walked in space outside Gemini 4.  This was during the height of the Cold War space race between the U.S. and Russia. In 1975, Leonov commanded the Soviet half of the first joint space mission with the United States and the Soviet Union.

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Died: Friday, October 11, 2019 (Who else died on October 11?)

Details of death: Died at the age of 85.


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Recalling his walk in space: “As far as I can remember, I was concentrating fully, cold blooded and relatively unexcited. The sight was spectacular! The stars do not blink. The sun seems welded into the black velvet of the sky. The earth alone speeds along.” —In Life Magazine two months after his historic walk

Full obituary: The New York Times

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