Did you know it’s been nearly 50 years since the first spacewalk? On March 18, 1965, Russian Alexei Leonov ventured from the safety of his Russian spacecraft for the first attempt for a person to survive “outside” in a spacesuit. While Leonov had troubles returning to the spacecraft, his brave effort set off a new era of spaceflight. It showed us it was possible for people to work in small spacesuits in space.
Think about what spacewalks have helped us accomplish since then. We’ve walked on the Moon. Constructed the International Space Station. Retrieved satellites. Even flew away from the space shuttle in a jetpack, for a couple of flights in the 1980s.
In this gallery, we’ve highlighted some of the more memorable images from American spacewalks over the years to honor a new Smithsonian Air and Space exhibit opening today (Jan. 8).
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