Looking back in time, on March 18, 1965, cosmonauts Alexei Leonov and Pavel Belyayev lifted off in Vaskhod 2 spacecraft (Sunrise 2), from which the 30-year old Alexei Leonov would exit to become the first person in history to step into the vacuum of space.
"A sailor must be able to swim in the sea. Likewise, a cosmonaut must be able to swim in outer space." With these words, the head of the Soviet space program, Sergei Korolev, initiated the crew of the first spacewalk mission. The objective of the mission was very simple; get into orbit, do the spacewalk, and go home. Voskhod 2 spacecraft circled the Earth between 167 km and 475 km.
Watch the video about the legendary spacewalk which lasted for 12 minutes and 9 seconds. (Original footage in Russian language):
Leonov wore a modified Vostok Sokol-1 intravehicular suit equipped with a life support backpack carrying 45 minutes of oxygen for breathing and cooling. He was attached to the capsule by a 5 m tether. As he exited, he became the first man ever to see the Earth from space without the aid of a camera or through a porthole as he looked down on the Mediterranean Sea. Meanwhile, cameras recorded the event and sent live television images back to Earth.
The biggest problem, however, was getting back inside the spacecraft. Leonov's pressurised suit was ballooning so badly that his hands were sliding out of his gloves and it took so much effort to move that he was on the verge of heatstroke. In order to get inside, Leonov had to violate procedure and go in head first, only to get stuck. He then had to bleed oxygen from his suit so he could move – an extremely dangerous procedure. Leonov's plan worked and he managed to get back inside Voskhod. From start to finish, the first spacewalk lasted 12 minutes and 9 seconds.
Though astronauts from many countries have worked outside of their spacecraft, built space stations, and repaired satellites, getting into a spacesuit and stepping into an airlock is still a newsworthy event and very complex and dangerous operation. Leonov's spacewalk was more than just a first. It illustrates how dangerous and alien an environment space is and that if modern astronauts make it look easy, it's because they have decades of experience and progress to draw on.
As many of you have realized the motto of the KITION PLANETARIUM & OBSERVATORY is "Join our spacewalk…"
Future Spacewalks will be endless! In every single spacewalk astronauts apply science and explore for the betterment of humanity!
So, join our spacewalk for an endless sharing of knowledge and experience…
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