Sad news on the BBC. Alexi was a great guy by all accounts. He also was on the mission where a US and Soviet capsule docked together – at the height of the Cold War! He then wrote a great book with NASA astronaut David Scott, about the story of the space race from both sides of the iron curtain. The recount of the first space walk is truly terrifying, with all sorts going critically wrong. A truly fascinating tale of bravery and pioneering engineering.
As ties between Moscow and Washington strain over the Ukraine conflict, Leonov offered a few solemn words of wisdom: “There have never been frontiers between astronauts. The day that this notion sinks into the minds of politicians, our planet will be different.”
The man had balls of steel. During the space walk his space suit over-inflated and he had to crack a valve and vent some of his oxygen into space to collapse it sufficiently to let him get back into the airlock. Then on re-entry their flight computer failed so the had to manually fire the retro-rockets so they landed almost a thousand miles off-course in Siberia, in the middle of winter, and had to survive for two days in sub-zero conditions, close to hypothermia, before they were rescued.