Space Exploration in a Time of Social Turmoil

The Expedition 63 crew welcomes Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley to the International Space Station. (Credits: NASA/Bill Stafford)

by Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

The contrast was jarring. In one browser window, two NASA astronauts were making their way to the International Space Station (ISS) after the first orbital launch of a crew from U.S. soil in nearly 9 years.

In another window, scenes of chaos played out as protests over the death of George Floyd after his arrest by Minneapolis police erupted into violent clashes across the country.

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Video: Alexey Leonov Discusses Historic First Spacewalk

WASHINGTON, DC (NASA PR) — We’re saddened by the loss of legendary Roscosmos cosmonaut Alexey Leonov, who became the first human to walk in space on March 18, 1965. His venture into the vacuum of space began the history of extravehicular activity that makes today’s International Space Station maintenance possible.

Leonov passed away on Oct. 11, 2019. He was 85 years old. He was 85 years old.

In this May 2014 interview, Leonov relives the highlights of the spacewalk he conducted over 50 years ago — the first spacewalk in history — during an interview with NASA Public Affairs Officer Rob Navias. Leonov stepped out of his Voskhod 2 spacecraft on March 18, 1965 for a 12-minute spacewalk to test his spacesuit and maneuverability.

He was followed two months later by American astronaut Edward White, who performed the first U.S. spacewalk in history during the Gemini 4 mission on June 3, 1965.

Leonov went on to command the Soyuz 19 spacecraft that conducted the first docking with an American space vehicle — the Apollo spacecraft commanded by Thomas Stafford — during the historic Apollo-Soyuz Test Project in July 1975.