12 minutes in the universe. How was the first human spacewalk – Biographies and references

TASS DOSES. On October 11, 2019, it became known about the death of cosmonaut Alexei Leonov. He became the first man to go into outer space. This happened 54 years ago, during the flight of the Voskhod-2 spacecraft on March 18-19, 1965.

The vessel “Voskhod-2”

To enter the airless space, the specialists from OKB-1 (now Rocket and Space Corporation Energia named after SP Korolev; Korolev, Moscow region) transformed the three-seater Voskhod ship into a two-seater to make room to put on a spacesuit and organization of the entrance to the lock chamber.

The suit for extravehicular activities “Berkut” and the lock chamber “Volga” for access to space were developed by the design agency for the experimental facility number 918 in the village near Moscow. Tomilino (now – Research and Production Enterprise “Zvezda”) under the direction of chief designer Guy Severin (1926-2008). Berkut was a ventilating space suit, that is, it did not allow regeneration of the air exhaled by the astronaut, as in modern spacesuits, and was designed for a 20-30 minute stay in space (total weight – 100 kg). The locking chamber in working condition had the shape of a cylinder 2.5 m long, with an outer diameter of 1.2 m and an inner diameter of 1 m. It was inflatable and was placed outside the ship’s hull. Before entering orbit, the camera was placed in a folded form under the Vostok-2 cover, and before it went down to earth, its main body was separated from the spacecraft. In an emergency, there was a reserve oxygen system in the lock chamber, connected to the spacesuit with a special cable (7 m). In addition, additional emergency oxygen bottles with a total capacity of about 4 liters were attached to the spacesuit behind the cosmonaut’s back (they should have lasted for 20 minutes).

Flight and space walk

The ship “Voskhod-2” with Alexei Leonov (Deputy Pilot) and Pavel Belyaev (Commander) was launched from the Baikonur Cosmodrome on March 18, 1965 (10:00 Moscow time). When the ship made its first orbit around the earth, the lock chamber was inflated, and in the second orbit, Alexei Leonov began to enter space. The cosmonaut moved away from the ship five times at a distance of up to 5.35 m. A safety cable was used to supply oxygen and communicate with the Voskhod-2 board (orbital parameters – from 167 km to 475 km).

The withdrawal was not without unforeseen events. Due to the pressure difference, the space suit was inflated. This prevented the astronaut from returning to the airlock (the diameter of the hatch was critically small). Therefore, Leonov, who risked his life, was forced to lower the pressure in the spacesuit to almost critical pressure (from 0.4 to 0.27 atmospheres). Contrary to the instructions, the cosmonaut had to enter the airlock head first, and to close the door behind him, he had to roll over into a cramped space (from the story of Alexei Leonov in the book “World Manned Cosmonautics: History. Technique. People” , 2005).

The total time Alexei Leonov spent in the airless space was 23 minutes. 41 sec., Of which 12 min. 9 sec. – outside the ship (in free flight). Two television cameras were installed on the outer surface of the ship, which transmitted the image to the ground. In addition, the cosmonaut filmed himself with a special S-97 film camera.

The total duration of the Voskhod-2 flight was 1 day 2 hours 2 minutes.

Landing, record registration

When the cosmonauts returned to Earth on March 19, the spacecraft’s automatic orientation system failed, and the landing was performed manually. The crew landed in an off-design area – 180 km north of Perm, far from populated areas. The astronauts were discovered four hours later in the taiga, but due to deep snow they were evacuated only two days later.

On October 20, 1965, the International Aeronautical Federation (FAI) approved the world record for the duration of a person’s stay in outer space outside a spacecraft – 12 minutes. 9 sec. For the first spacewalk in human history, the FAI awarded Alexei Leonov its highest award – the Cosmos Gold Medal, and Pavel Belyaev was awarded a federation diploma and medal.

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