Alexei Leonov, first human to walk in space, dies at 85

Alexei Leonov, first human to walk in space, dies at 85

The form of the medal itself was inspired by Leonov's drawing, his first spacewalk and the home-built electric guitar of Queen band member and astrophysicist Brian May.

Astronauts aboard the ISS plan to conduct eight more spacewalks in the coming three months, a record cadence since the assembly of the space station was completed in 2011, according to NASA.

NASA broke into its live televised coverage of a spacewalk by two Americans outside the International Space Station to report Leonov's death."A tribute to Leonov as today is a spacewalk", Mission Control in Houston said.

"This is a loss for the whole planet", said Russian cosmonaut Oleg Kononenko.

Leonov was a close friend of Yury Gagarin, who became the first human to go to outer space in 1961.

Leonov spent 12 minutes tethered to the capsule during the Voskhod 2 mission in 1965.

Leonov trained as a military pilot before becoming a cosmonaut.

Stanley Kubrick's 1968 film 2001: A Space Odyssey included recordings of Leonov's breathing in space.

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That mission was the first one between the Soviet Union and the United States and was carried out at the height of the Cold War.

In 1975, he also took part in the historic Soyuz-Apollo spaceflight, which signalled the end of the Space Race.

Former Russian cosmonaut Alexei Leonov in 2010.

Leonov helped train other cosmonauts before retiring in 1992, a year after the Soviet Union collapsed.

Leonov was an accomplished artist and writer and his contemporaries described him as warm and likable. He is survived by his widow Svetlana and his younger daughter Oksana.

"It's a huge tragedy for us all", said the wife of cosmonaut Boris Volynov, Ms Tamara Volynova, who wrote a book about cosmonauts.

A visitation will be held in Leonov's honor in Moscow on Tuesday, Oct. 15.

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