The First Spacewalker Cheated Death And Crash-Landed In a Forest Full of Wolves

Voskhod 2 commemorative stamp. Image: Russian Federation
March 18, 1965 was an ordinary Thursday for the majority of people located on planet Earth. But for 30-year-old cosmonaut Alexey Leonov, one of two people who happened to be off-world at the time, it was all about making history and cheating death.

By Becky Ferreira | MOTHERBOARD

Exactly 52 years ago this Saturday, Leonov and mission commander Pavel Belyayev blasted into space aboard the Soviet spacecraft Voskhod („Sunrise“) 2. Several crews, both Russian and American, had already orbited Earth, so Voskhod 2 had been tasked with pushing the boundaries of human spaceflight to the next level—a spacewalk, or EVA (extravehicular activity). His audacious mission has since been commemorated with books, stamps, pop culture homages, and an upcoming feature-length film.

About ninety minutes after lift-off, Leonov made his way into the ship’s Volga inflatable airlock, secured a 5.35-meter (17.6 foot) tether around his torso, opened the hatch, and ventured out into the unknown with only a spacesuit to protect him. It was the first time any human had left the safety of a spacecraft and free-floated in orbit. A Volga-mounted camera that Leonov had set up on his way out captured the extraordinary moment.

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