Commander of the Soviet crew of Soyuz, Alexei Leonov (L) and commander of the US crew of Apollo, Thomas Stafford (R), shake hands after the Apollo-Soyuz docking maneuvers. / AFP PHOTO / NASA
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Alexei Leonov, a legendary Soviet cosmonaut who was the first man to perform a spacewalk in 1965, died in Moscow on Friday aged 85 after a long illness.The 1965 mission was also celebrated in a 2017 Russian film, "The Spacewalker" where Leonov acted as consultant.After 18 months of intensive training Leonov was ready to become the first man to float in space.On March 18, 1965, at the age of 30, he made history when he left a spacecraft during the Voskhod 2 mission for a spacewalk that lasted 12 minutes and nine seconds.Leonov and another cosmonaut, pilot Pavel Belyayev, orbited at a distance of 500 kilometers from Earth.A decade later in 1975 Leonov commanded the Soyuz 19 spacecraft which docked with the U.S. Apollo spacecraft in the first joint space mission between the Soviet Union and the United States.
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