The message reads, in part:
“Your professional biography filled with truly momentous historic events and your entire life are worthy examples of total devotion to your chosen work and of great personal courage. As one of the legendary first group of cosmonauts, you wrote one of the most unforgettable pages in the history of space exploration, made an outstanding contribution to developing the country’s rocket and space sector and strengthened its science and technology capabilities. I particularly note your active public and creative activities and your sincere and tireless attention to preserving and promoting the Russian space sector’s marvellous traditions.”
Alexei Leonov was the first person in the world to carry out a spacewalk, spending 12 minutes 9 seconds outside the spacecraft on March 18, 1965.
In 1975, Alexei Leonov and Valery Kubasov flew into space for the Soyuz-Apollo programme, which saw the first ever linkup between spacecraft from two different countries – the USSR and the USA.