On Friday, October 11, the Hero of the Soviet Union, USSR pilot-cosmonaut, reserve aviation major-general Aleksei Leonov, the first man to go into outer space, died twice. He was 85 years old.

“Alexey Arkhipovich died at the Burdenko hospital after a long illness,” TASS quoted his assistant Natalia Filimonova as saying.

According to RIA Novosti, citing a source close to the astronaut’s entourage, after the February operation on his toes due to diabetes, Leonov was constantly monitored by doctors in hospitals.

The farewell ceremony with the astronaut will take place on Tuesday, October 15, 2019 at 11:00 at the Mytishchi military memorial cemetery, the press service of Roscosmos notes.

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At the same time, RIA Novosti explains that Leonov’s funeral will be held in the presence of a company of the guard of honor, a military band, with a mourning salute and to the sounds of the national anthem. It is also indicated that Leonov will become the third astronaut buried at the memorial cemetery in Mytishchi - after Viktor Gorbatko and Alexei Gubarev.

"The legend of space"

Their condolences on the death of the first man to spacewalk have already been expressed at Roskosmos, the European Space Agency (ESA) and NASA.

“One of the first cosmonauts of the world space era, forever devoted to his country and his work, he inscribed himself in golden letters in the world history of astronautics. With Alexei Arkhipovich a whole era has gone. The best memory of him will be the new achievements of the Russian cosmonautics, to which he devoted his bright heroic life, ”the Russian state corporation for space activities emphasized.

Along with this, the site of "Roskosmos" painted in mourning colors.

  • © roscosmos.ru

The ESA press service called Leonov “the pioneer of Russian cosmonautics”, and NASA - “the legendary astronaut.”

“His access to airless space laid the foundation for the history of work overboard aircraft, which made it possible to maintain the ISS these days,” the US National Aeronautics and Space Administration explained.

In addition, astronauts Andrew Morgan and Christina Cook interrupted the live broadcast of spacewalks at NASA in order to inform viewers of Leonov’s death.

"Leonov was a man with a capital letter"

Russian President Vladimir Putin “deeply condoles” in connection with the death of Alexei Leonov, said presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov on the sidelines of a meeting of the CIS Council of Heads of State in Ashgabat.

“They knew each other very well, Putin treated Leonov with deep respect, they repeatedly talked. Putin has always admired Leonov’s courage and the way he was a man with a capital “,” said Peskov.

According to him, in the very near future, the President of Russia will send a telegram with condolences to the relatives and friends of the Hero of the Soviet Union twice.

  • Archival photo. Vladimir Putin and Alexei Leonov
  • kremlin.ru

As the State Duma Speaker Vyacheslav Volodin noted, the name of Alexei Leonov is forever inscribed “in the world history of space exploration”. His life will be a worthy example for future generations, he added.

“The courage and willpower of Alexei Arkhipovich combined with his creative abilities. He is known to many people not only as an astronaut, but also a wonderful artist, ”Volodin emphasized.

The head of Chechnya, Ramzan Kadyrov, also expressed his condolences, noting that he twice respected the Hero of the Soviet Union, with whom he was personally acquainted.

“The life path of pilot-cosmonaut Alexei Leonov is over. He was the first to go into outer space <...> Aleksey Arkhipovich was one of the members of the Soyuz crew - Apollo. Sincerely condolences to relatives and friends, ”Kadyrov said.

The astronaut who went down in history three times

Alexei Leonov was born on May 30, 1934 in the village of Listvyanka, West Siberian Territory (now Kemerovo Region). This year he turned 85 years old. In honor of the anniversary, the crew members of the International Space Station Oleg Kononenko and Alexei Ovchinin on May 29 went into outer space in spacesuits on which were inscribed “Leonov No. 1” and “Happy Birthday, Alexei Arkhipovich.”

On May 29, Oleg Kononenko and Alexei Ovchinin will go into outer space. They have to perform a number of works on the installation of equipment on the outer surface of the space station - https://t.co/CGsBlvnWXl

“Space Walk” will be dedicated to the 85th anniversary of Alexei Leonov pic.twitter.com/ajPxxl5eOh

- ROSKOSMOS (@roscosmos) May 28, 2019

Leonov was one of 20 people enrolled in the first cosmonaut corps of the USSR. March 18, 1965 during the flight of the Voskhod-2 spacecraft, commanded by Pavel Belyaev, he became the first man to go into open space.

The total time of the first exit was 23 minutes 41 seconds, of which Leonov spent 12 minutes 9 seconds outside the ship. Based on the results of the astronaut's work, it was concluded that a person can perform various tasks in outer space.

“I constantly analyze that situation, I find some mistakes that could have been avoided - and they were and could lead to tragedy. Everything, in general, was on the verge. As Boris Evseevich Chertok said, if he was now given the opportunity to sign documents for this work, he would never have signed them, ”Leonov said in an interview with RT in 2015.

He noted that the first spacewalk was remembered for a lifetime

“On Earth, we do not understand the size of our planet, only in space can we realize this. Say as much as you like that the ball is round, but when you see a planet from space, be surprised. Even in the ship you look out the window - well, two or three stars. And here the stars are everywhere, and the Sun, as driven into the sky, and the black sky. And from the Sun, the temperature is degrees + 150 °, from the side of the shadow -140 °, and inside the spacesuit + 20 °. I did not expect all this, ”the astronaut explained.

10 years after the first spacewalk, in July 1975, Alexei Leonov made his second space flight, which also went down in history. He was a crew commander who participated in the first docking of spacecraft from different countries. The experimental project was called: "Union - Apollo." Then a historic handshake took place between the Soviet cosmonaut and the American astronaut Thomas Stafford.

“In 1975, the situation was much worse than now: we were at the very peak of the Cold War. But when we flew over the Earth together in the “Soyuz-Apollo” connection, we could say things inaccessible to diplomats of that time, ”Leonov explained later.

The commanders of Soyuz 19 and Apollo, after completing that mission, maintained close relations with each other. Leonov became the godfather of Stafford's sons (Thomas adopted both boys from the Fryanovsky orphanage with the assistance of Alexei). In addition, a grandson named Alexei appeared in the family of a US citizen, who was named after twice the Hero of the Soviet Union.