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First spacewalker Alexei Leonov dies at 85

Leonov passed away at the hospital after a long illness

MOSCOW, October 11. /TASS/. The man who made history by performing the first-ever spacewalk in 1965, Soviet cosmonaut Alexei Leonov, has died in Moscow, his aide Natalya Filimonova told TASS on Friday. Leonov was 85.

Leonov passed away at the Burdenko Hospital after a long illness, Filimonova said. He will be buried at the Federal Military Memorial Cemetery (in Mytishchi, the Moscow Region) on October 15.

The Cosmonauts Training Center has confirmed Leonov’s death.

On May 30, 2019 Leonov celebrated his 85th birthday. Members of the International Space Station’s crew Oleg Kononenko and Alexei Ovchinin dedicated their May 29 spacewalk to Leonov’s jubilee. Inscriptions on their spacesuits read "Leonov N. 1" and "Happy Birthday, Alexei Arkhipovich". Also, they took Leonov’s portrait outside the ISS.

Leonov made two space flights that lasted a total of seven days and 33 minutes. The first one was on March 18-19, 1965. Leonov was a co-pilot of the spacecraft Voskhod-2 (commander Pavel Belyayev). During that space mission Leonov performed the first-ever spacewalk. During his second space voyage on July 15-21, 1975 Leonov was the commander of the crew that participated in the first international docking of the Soviet Union’s Soyuz-19 spacecraft and the United States’ Apollo-18. The handshakes of Soviet and US crewmembers Alexei Leonov, Valery Kubasov, Vance Brand, Thomas Stafford and Donald Slayton in orbit went down in the history of space exploration.