USSR 1965 Voskhod 2

Voskhod 2, launched on March 18 1965, was a manned spaceflight that carried Pavel Belyayev and Alexei Leonov. It was Leonov, however, who made history on 18 March 1965 when he became the first human being to walk in space for 12 minutes and 9 seconds.

Voskhod 2 launch, Kiev postmark on 18 March 1965.

Voskhod 2 imperforate stamp on KNIGA cover signed by Alexei Leonov. This imperforated stamp was issued on the crew landing day, 19 March 1965.

Voskhod 2 Arkhangelsk postmark on the crew landing day, 19 March 1965.

Voskhod 2 covers with special Moscow postmark on 23 March 1965, signed by Alexei Leonov and Pavel Belyayev. The perforated stamps were issued on 23 March 1965.

Voskhod 2 special Minsk postmark 23 March 1965, signed by Alexei Leonov.

Despite the spectacular success of the space walk, things that followed after went wrong; Leonov was almost unable to re-enter the airlock after the space walk, due to stiffness of his inflated spacesuit. He had to bleed off the suit's pressure in order to make it easier for him to move his joints. When he finally got back into the spacecraft, the crew encountered difficulty in sealing the hatch properly. Later, the automatic guidance system for re-entry malfunctioned and forced the crew to use of its manual backup. Voskhod 2 eventually landed in the thick forest of the Ural Mountains, which was outside of the flight's intended landing zone. The crew spent two nights in the wild before they were rescued... (the nightmare of Voskhod 2 was told by Leonov here). Subsequent missions for the Voskhod programme were deemed dangerous and were cancelled.

Voskhod 2 KNIGA cover signed by the crew. The stamps were issued and cancelled on 23 May 1965.

Pavel Belyayev & Alexei Leonov (signed by Leonov)

Photo: Alexei Leonov spacewalk, 18 March 1965.

Photo: (left to right) Russian scientist Leonid Sevod, cosmonauts Pavel Belyayev & Alexei Leonov, and Wernher Von Braun at the opening session of 16th International Astronautical Congress, Athens, Greece, 13 Oct 1965.