Mint Stamp Sheet Honors
50th Anniversary of the First Spacewalk
On March 18, 1965, Alexey Leonov did what no human had ever done before. He stepped outside a vehicle, with nothing but outer space around him – the first space walk. The only thing that connected him to anything related to our world was a 17-foot-long tether, or “umbilicus.” If that had become disconnected, Leonov would have floated away from the Voskhod 2 spacecraft, unable to be recovered.
For 12 minutes and nine seconds Leonov stayed outside the Voskhod 2. There is a lot of danger with such missions, and Leonov encountered some difficulty. His suit became over-inflated with oxygen so he couldn’t bend his joints. This meant he couldn’t activate the camera to take pictures, but it also presented a more serious problem.
When Leonov tried to re-enter the craft, his suit wouldn’t fit. It was only when he was able to reduce the pressure that he was able to return. The rapid depressurization was a hazard that was similar to what deep-sea divers encounter, called the “bends.” It is potentially fatal. His body temperature also rose so quickly that he almost suffered heat stroke.
A decade later, Leonov also was the commander of the Soviet craft Soyuz 19, which made history in 1975 by linking up with the American Apollo spacecraft. It was the first joint mission in space history. Leonov shook hands with American commander Tom Stafford through the open airlock doors.
This neat mint stamp sheet features several portraits of Leonov plus his space capsule and the Soyuz Mission Medal, so it honors both of his historic trips. Add this history to your collection.