On 11th October 2019, humanity suffered an immeasurable loss – the loss of a man who was not only one of the greatest spacemen of all time and one of the most courageous people on the planet, but also a role model and inspiration for so many of us. Alexei Leonov, legendary astronaut and the first man to perform a spacewalk was a humanitarian, and a man with an exceptionally powerful spirit.
We will miss his strong personality, his delightful humour and his outstanding ability to make this world a better place, whatever he was doing and wherever he happened to be. He brought accord everywhere he went. As commander of the Soviet crew of Soyuz-Apollo, Leonov became a powerful factor in the cohesion of a team of astronauts from two previously competing countries, and created an atmosphere of co-operation and mutual respect among the crew. He always emphasised the importance of peace and co-operation in space and was a firm believer that there is no place for weapons in space.
Alexei Leonov was a point of reference for cosmonauts and astronauts, an extraordinarily talented artist, and a founder member of the Starmus Advisory Board. His sketch of Stephen Hawking became a trigger for STARMUS to create The Stephen Hawking Medal for Science Communication. The medal will keep his legacy alive, and continue to inspire science lovers in the name of Alexei Leonov.
To many of us, Alexei Leonov was a symbol – a symbol of the immense capabilities of a human being, of infinite optimism, of a never-surrendering mind, and of space exploration. We will keep Alexei Leonov´s memory in our hearts and follow the path he created for us.
Rest in peace, spacewalker!
Starmus Advisory Board