Anniversary of the first spacewalk

leonov photo webOn 18th March 1965, Russian cosmonaut Alexei LEONOV (RUS) stepped out of the spacecraft Voskhod-2 to become the first person to walk in space. He spent a total of 12 minutes and 9 seconds outside of the vehicle attached by a tether, thereby gaining an FAI World Record for extravehicular (EV) duration in space.

Pilot Pavel BELYAYEV (RUS) and co-pilot Leonov launched at 07:00 GMT on 18th March 1965 from Baikonur cosmodrome in the former USSR. At 08:28:13 GMT Alexei Leonov initiated his spacewalk by decompressing the spacecraft airlock; at 08:34:51 he stepped out of the vehicle, returning at 08:47:00. Telemetering data shows that his heart rate rose to 143 beats/min and breathing rate to 31 breaths/min as he first left the inside of the spacecraft.

During the EV activity, Leonov was attached to the spacecraft by a tether measuring 5.35m in length. Cinematographic evidence was used in the post-flight analysis to show that, at times, the tether was taught, thereby recording the maximum distance the cosmonaut floated from the vehicle.

The flight lasted for 26 hours and two minutes, covering some 717,262km and reaching an altitude of 497.7km. The spacecraft returned safely to Earth, landing near Perm at 09:02 GMT on 19th March.

In a post flight report, Leonov stated "Leaving the spacecraft in outer space is quite possible and is no longer mysterious to man". 

leonov beliaev photo webLeonov and Belyayev before entering the spacecraft

This information and the images reproduced here are sourced from the official dossier submitted to FAI for world record homologation.