Space Programs

First Humans in Space

Who was the first person to walk in space?

Soviet cosmonaut Alexei Leonov (1934–) was the first person to travel in outer space outside of a spacecraft. On March 18, 1965, he floated for twelve minutes outside of his vessel, Voskhod 2. Leonov’s historic mission was the tenth piloted space mission in history, and the sixth for the former Soviet Union.

On Voskhod 2’S second orbit around Earth, Leonov put on a spacesuit and a backpack containing an oxygen tank, and entered the spacecraft’s airlock. When the entrance to the vessel was resealed, Leonov opened the outer hatch and climbed out. He floated 17 feet (5.3 meters) away from the spacecraft, the full length of his safety line. He landed on top of the craft, where he remained for a few minutes before pulling himself back to the hatch. Leonov then found out that his spacesuit had ballooned out in several places, making it impossible for him to fit back inside the hatch. Happily, he quickly solved the problem by releasing some air from the pressurized suit.


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