News By/Courtesy: Deepali jain | 18 Oct 2019 22:17pm IST

HIGHLIGHTS

  • Died at the age of 85
  • End of an era
  • An idol defeated by wrath of death

 

On March 18, 1965, Alexey Leonov, a Russian cosmonaut, stepped out of a thin metal shell of a spacecraft, and floated into space. The name of this craft was Voskhod 2, and Leonov spent 12 minutes and nine seconds of what was to be glorious exploration outside the craft. It nearly cost him his life.

The Russians were intent on being the first to carry out a spacewalk, and cosmonauts Leonov and Pavel Belyayev were sent into orbit on the Voskhod 2 in order to does just that. Once the outer hatch was opened, it took Leonov just two minutes on his 5-meter tether to achieve free-floating bliss in space.

Leonov had but three orders once arriving in space, attach a camera to the airlock, document the spacewalk with a camera attached to his chest, and well, survive.

He survived and he was able to attach the airlock camera, however, documenting the first spacewalk via the chest camera proved impossible. His space suit inflated too much, due to the camera attached to his chest, therefore he was unable to reach the shutter button attached to his thigh.

This may seem innocuous, however, due to the suit inflating beyond Leonov’s true size, it caused the suit not to perform its duties properly. His body temperature increased by 1.8 degrees Celsius, almost causing a heat stroke in the cosmonaut. In interviews, he noted that he felt as if he were “sloshing around in his suit”. Two Russian crewmembers on the International Space Station paid tribute to Mr Leonov two days before his 85th birthday.

They ventured into open space with stickers attached to their spacesuits paying tribute to the astronaut and congratulated him from space.

Roscosmos said Mr. Leonov’s funeral will take place on Tuesday at a military cemetery outside Moscow.

 

Section Editor: Prithvjjit Mukherjee | 19 Oct 2019 18:50pm IST


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