Legendary cosmonaut Alexei Leonov passed away after a long illness at the N.N. Burdenko hospital on October 11. He was 85 years old.
Alexei Leonov had a long friendship with the Russian Geographical Society. He participated in the meetings of the Board of Trustees, gave lectures, signed a unique globe, and the RGS Underwater Research Team based in Kazan was named after Alexei Arkhipovich.
Alexei Leonov, cosmonaut No. 11, was the first to step into the space abyss. This 1965 flight on the ship Voskhod-2, without exaggeration, changed the world. He spent 12 minutes in outer space. Then, due to the fact that there was an oxygen leak and the spacesuit got inflated, Leonov barely returned alive.
Among the cosmonauts, Leonov was considered lucky. In 1971, shortly before the launch of “Soyuz 11”, its crew was taken off the flight, and the backup crew was sent into space, that died during their return. And in 1968, Alexei Arkhipovich was almost killed during the attempt on Brezhnev`s life. He was saved by the fact that the car jerked, and the bullets flew past.
Leonov’s name was known all over the world and was repeated right after Gagarin. In 1975, Alexei Arkhipovich again became the first, participating in the Soviet-American expedition "Soyuz-Apollo".
A lot was written about Alexei Arkhipovich, films were made, people consulted him on various issues, and he tried to stay away, avoiding publicity. Leonov’s friends say that until the end of his life he, most of all, dreamed of going back into space again.
Modern cosmonauts go out into outer space almost daily and do not see anything sensational in this. As a sign of respect for the pioneer, they call this work "poleonit`" or "leonovat`".
Russian Geographical Society expresses deep condolences to the relatives and friends of Alexei Arkhipovich.