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Overview (3)

Born in Listvyanka, West Siberian Krai, Russian SFSR, USSR [now Kemerovo Oblast, Russia]
Birth NameAleksey Arkhipovich Leonov
Height 5' 4" (1.63 m)

Mini Bio (1)

Alexey Leonov was born on May 30, 1934 in Listvyanka, West Siberian Krai, Russian SFSR, USSR as Aleksey Arkhipovich Leonov. He is known for his work on Petlya Oriona (1981), Glavnyj (2015) and Bolshoe kosmicheskoe puteshestvie (1975). He is married to Svetlana Pavlovna. They have two children.

Spouse (1)

Svetlana Pavlovna (? - present) ( 2 children)

Trivia (12)

When the call came for cosmonaut candidates in 1959, Leonov was picked as one of the first 20 cosmonauts. He spent over 7 days in space aboard 2 spaceflights. Leonov was the eleventh cosmonaut in Soviet space history and the fifteenth person in space.
Leonov was a fighter pilot before becoming a cosmonaut. He graduated with honors from Chuguyev Higher Air Force School in 1957. He then joined the Soviet Air Force units as a fighter pilot, becoming an expert parachutist and instructor of military air forces for paratroop training.
The first man to "walk" in space on March 18, 1965, when he floated outside the spacecraft Voskhod 2 for 10 minutes, secured to the spacecraft by only a safety line. He pushed away from the craft and let himself drift 17.5 feet away before reeling himself back in. There were tense moments during the first of his two extravehicular activities when Leonov found his spacesuit too rigid to reenter the airlock. He bled air out of his suit and was able to fit back through the inflatable airlock capsule.
Leonov was to be the Commander of the first Soviet Moon mission, which was cancelled when Apollo 11 landed on the Moon in 1969.
On July 15, 1975, Leonov was commander of the Russian flight in the Apollo-Soyuz Test Project, the first linking of Soviet and American spacecraft. Leonov trained in Houston, where he learned to speak English fluently and made friends with everyone with his quick wit, humor, and charm. The Soyuz and Apollo crafts separated after approximately two days. The Soyuz craft was recovered on July 21, fewer than 10 kilometers away from its target point.
While in space, Leonov sketched pictures, including one of American astronaut Thomas P. Stafford, using a set of colored pencils he attached to his wrist with a makeshift bracelet.
Leonov survived a premature death five times. (1) He was riding with other cosmonauts in front of a car carrying Soviet leader Leonid Brezhnev when a young officer started firing two guns wildly in an assassination attempt. The driver was killed, but Leonov managed to crouch behind the seat. (2) During that first space walk in 1965, his spacesuit expanded so much that he could not fit back into the Voskhod 2 capsule. Quick thinking saved him. (3) During the same mission, the ship did not rotate normally to spread the sun's warmth across the station. As a result, there was a failure in the life-support systems and air started leaking out of the station. Oxygen grew to critical levels, and the slightest spark would have killed everyone. (4) Leonov was due to fly in 1971 on Salyut 1, the first space station put into orbit, but officials changed the entire crew 11 hours before the flight because of concerns for cosmonaut Valerii Kubasov's health. The new crew set a record of 23 days in orbit, but a leak in the capsule killed the three men as they returned to Earth. Had he been in the mission, he would have died. (5) Once while driving, his car skidded and plunged into a deep ice-covered lake. Leonov heroically pulled his wife and driver to safety. Leonov attributes his survival of all of these crises to God, though there is no doubt that his intelligence and training certainly helped!
Upon return to Earth after the Voskhod mission, a rocket malfunction forced Leonov and his crewmate to land in the Ural Mountains amid deep snow, with wolves growling and scratching at Voskhod's partly open hatch. They remained all night, surrounded by wolves, until a rescue crew found them the next day.
A self-taught artist, he has painted everything from stoic Russian churches to Siberian snow scenes and, of course, space art based on color sketches done aboard his two flights. After a joint exhibition with American space artists in Moscow, he led the Soviet space artists to the International Space Art Workshop held in Iceland the following year. Leonov's works have been displayed all over the former Soviet Union, and at the National Air & Space Museum in Washington, DC.
Leonov was promoted to Major General following the Apollo-Soyuz Test Project. Later in his career he was appointed the Deputy Director of the Yuri Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Center, in charge of international and guest cosmonauts. As of June 1999, he was the Chief of the International Detachment, training guest cosmonauts for space travel.

Editor, designer, and cartoonist for APOGEE, the formerly supersecret cosmonaut newsletter.
After serving as a cosmonaut, he became an investment banker.
His wife Svetlana is a teacher, and they have two daughters, Viktoria and Oksana.

Personal Quotes (1)

[About the crisis during his first space walk:] There were many problems. One was impossible to test on Earth, namely, how would the space suit react in the vacuum of space? . . . I had to take a decision to lower the pressure inside the space suit, but by how much? Too much would have led to a boiling of blood in the body, which would have finished me off. But I had to do it. I didn't report this down to Earth. I knew the situation better than anyone else. [about the Apollo-Soyuz mission:]

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