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Alexei Leonov, first human to walk in space, and also shook hands on Apollo-Soyuz

Another space pioneer has left the launch pad: News this morning that former cosmonaut Alexi Leonov, the first human to walk in space, has died at the age of 85.

Leonov spent 12 minutes outside of his Voskhod 2 spacecraft in 1965, and later he was one of the members of the Apollo-Soyuz joint mission in 1975.

Wow, that mission really excited the hell out of us at the time. Even as only a sixth-grader, we knew what a big deal it was that the Americans and Soviets were cooperating in space together.


[Friends in orbit: Leonov and Deke Slayton]

Astronomy magazine editor Dave Eicher knew Leonov personally and expressed what an ongoing presence he was in the space community, calling him a “wonderful supporter of Starmus,” the annual gathering in Switzerland.

If you have other stories about Leonov, we’d love to hear them.

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