Why Famous: Leonov was the first person to do a 'spacewalk' - that is conducting extra-vehicular activity while in space. He achieved this feat with the Soviet space program on March 18, 1965, when he went outside his capsule on the Voshkod 2 program for 12 minutes and nine seconds.
Leonov had a long career with the Soviet space program - eventually transitioning over to the Russian successor agency when the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991. From 1976 to 1982 he was the 'Chief Cosmonaut' of the space agency. He would retire in 1992.
- 1965-03-18 Cosmonaut Alexey Leonov, leaving his spacecraft Voskhod 2 for 12 minutes, becomes the first person to walk in space