Leonov lived in Kemerovo 1937-1947
The souvenir sheet reproduced Leonov painting with his signature on the left
The flight of Voskhod-2 with Pavel Belyaev and Alexey Leonov was full of near-misses. As Leonov recalled – there were 7 accidents during this flight and half of them could have led to the catastrophe. The spacewalk itself proved to be almost a booby trap, when Leonov struggled with the spacesuit to get into the ship. He suffered from abnormally high heart rate and sweating, almost experienced a heatstroke plus decompression sickness while playing with the pressure in his suit. In order to get safely to the ship, he breached several instructions.
Due to the decompression following the overheating, additional amounts of oxygen were pushed into the cabin, worsening Leonovs condition. After creating overpressure inside the cabin, some structure elements forced to be pushed out and finally sealed the leak.
The landing automation system went down and Belyaev initiated manual control over the ship. Due to the cabin design he could not manage it while seating in his chair, but had to unbuckle and do everything while floating weightless. Finally after additional unplanned revolution he set the direction and initiated deorbiting. Due to the delay of Belyaev getting to the chair and buckle, the ship missed landing point by 165 kilometers, touching down in a remote location near Perm. Rescue airplane spotted the landing zone and guided a couple of local scouts who built a small log tent. Next day the helicopters provided supplies and additional rescues coupled with the team to be extracted after a second night in the woods.
In 1968 Leonov was a member of a second crew for Zond-7 flight around the Moon, but the manned flight was cancelled, although the cosmonauts wrote a letter to the leaders of USSR about their readiness for sacrifice to get first to the Moon.
In late 60s Leonov teamed with fantasy artist Andrey Sokolov and created a series of paintings that were published in space related albums and reproduced on stamps. The first one issued in 1967 – “Stars, wait for us!” The most famous and widely known stamp series is 6 stamps of “15 Years of Space Age” that were also issued in mini-sheets. The stamps issued in 1972 used a combination of real-life and fantasy paintings.
Pavel Belyaev died from peritonitis on Jan 10, 1970. Although serving in a Cosmonaut Team he was never appointed to any flight crew.
In 1971 Leonov was a commander of ill-fated Soyuz-11, but two days before the start the crews were switched due to Valery Kubasov sickness. The backup crew of Volkov, Dobrovosly and Patsaev was launched and died during the landing accident.
In 1975 Leonov commanded Soyuz-19 docking with Apollo, which became widely publicized milestone of USSR-USA space cooperation both technically and politically.
In 2015 a stamp was issued to commemorate the 50th anniversary of spacewalk, issued in 495,000 pieces (33,000 sheets), special postmarks were prepared for Moscow, Kaluga and Vologda (birthplace of Pavel Belyaev). Official card was issued in 15,000 pieces. Baikonur branch of Russian Post – BaikonurSvyazInform prepared two types of special cancellations on dedicated cards. Several private designs should also be mentioned.
The cover shows M/V Nevel, that actually had no connection to Voskhod-2 flight, as it was commissioned in 1967.