This Day in History-March 18th: A Walk Among the Stars: Alexei Leonov Makes History with First Spacewalk


A Walk Among the Stars: Alexei Leonov Makes History with First Spacewalk

On March 18, 1965, humanity took a giant leap not just for mankind, but quite literally, a giant step outside of it. Soviet cosmonaut Alexei Leonov, on the Voskhod 2 mission, became the first person to perform a spacewalk, venturing into the unknown abyss of space for a groundbreaking 12 minutes.

Leonov's spacewalk was a daring feat, achieved amidst the tensions of the Cold War space race. The Soviet Union, determined to outpace the United States, designed the Voskhod spacecraft specifically for this mission. Unlike previous capsules, Voskhod lacked an internal airlock, requiring Leonov to exit through a specialized inflatable airlock deployed from the hatch.

The experience, however, was not without its challenges. As Leonov ventured out, untethered to the vast emptiness, his spacesuit inflated due to the lack of external pressure. This unexpected development made re-entry a tense affair, forcing Leonov to bleed excess pressure from his suit to squeeze back through the airlock. Despite the near scare, Leonov's spacewalk was a resounding success.

His 12 minutes outside the spacecraft not only secured Soviet dominance in the space race but also provided invaluable data on the effects of space on the human body. The mission paved the way for future spacewalks, critical for satellite repairs, space station construction, and ultimately, humanity's journey to the Moon and beyond. Alexei Leonov's pioneering walk remains a testament to human courage and the enduring quest to explore the cosmos.

Images from Google images/firstspacewalk

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