MOSCOW, October 11. /TASS/. The European Space agency (ESA) has offered condolences over the death of Russian cosmonaut Alexey Leonov, the first human to walk in space, ESA wrote on Twitter on Friday.
“We are very sad to learn of the passing of Alexei Leonov, pioneering Russian cosmonaut and the first spacewalker, aged 85,” ESA tweeted.
Ren· Pischel, the head of ESA Moscow Office, conveyed his condolences to the family, friends and colleagues of Leonov, pointing out that his passing became a great loss “for all of us.”
“Alexey Arkhipovich was a legend who went down in history and inspired many of us with his courage. His first spacewalk and the historic Soyuz-Apollo handshake will always be remembered throughout the world,” Pischel told TASS.
According to Pischel, the entire era of trailblazers, who had discovered a road to outer space for mankind, was gone with the death of Leonov.
Alexey Leonov passed away in Moscow aged 85, his aide Natalia Filimonova told TASS on Friday.
On May 30, 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.