Alexey Leonov & Anatoly Solovyev private visit in 2016

Legendary cosmonauts visit Florian Noller

We had the honor to welcome cosmonauts Alexey Leonov and Anatoly Solovyev for a three-day trip to Germany and our office entirely sponsored by then.

Visiting the birthplace of famous astronomer Johannes Kepler in Weil der Stadt was only one of the many memorable moments we shared with these two legends of space history. A rare glimpse into the private life of two Russian heros :

Living legends

Alexey Archipowitsch Leonov was the first man to walk in space in 1965, leaving his Voschod spacecraft and floating free in space - an experience that still inspires him after 50 years. Today he enthusiastically reports about his experiences and also about the then kept-secrets about problems that occured during his first spacewalk.

He also commanded the Russian Soyus 19 spaceship during the first historical docking between a US and then Soviet spaceship in 1975 - the Apollo Soyus Test Project (ASTP) that started the cooperation in space as opposed to the cold space war in the 1960s. Today he enjoins us all to continue that cooperation in space. Leonov who was also a close friend of the first man in space, Yuri Gagarin, was already in training for a manned Soviet lunar landing mission and probably would have been the first Russian on the moon if not various technical problems and the sudden death of chief constructor Sergey Korolev made a lunar flight impossible.

Anatoly Jakovlevitsch Solovyev is a space veteran of five spaceflights and spent a total of 652 days in space. He currently holds the world record with the most EVAs in history - a total 16 spacwalks with a total time of 82 hours in open space.

Solovyev was also a crewmember of the second US-Russian docking mission (STS-71 – Soyus TM-21).

Saviour of the MIR space station 

Solovyev became famous when he basically saved the MIR space station that got into an uncontrolled spin situation by manually docking his Soyuz spaceship that also lost several power systems and stopping its fatal spin.

Aside his spaceflights Solovyev flew literally everything on earth with wings or rotors. His longtime friend and then senior General Alexey Leonov considers him the possibly best spacepilot of all times - the real world Han Solo or Luke Skywalker !

Huge interest

Originally planned as a private visit of both cosmonauts to Florian Noller the trip turned into a huge society event when in Baden-Baden (Germany) the Russian consul general along with high ranking officials of German-Russian trade organisations showed up to listed to Leonovs and Solovyevs lecture at the famous casino. TV stations and more than 15 journalists proved that even after 50 years there is a huge interest in space history in Germany in all ages of society.

Florian Noller Alexey Leonov Baden

Full house in Weil der Stadt

In Weil der Stadt around 200 invited guests joined us for a reception by the city and the local Kepler Society together with German DLR astronaut Ernst Messerschmid who is also a member of the Kepler Society.

Both cosmonauts held a fascinating lecture without any manuscripts and answered questions from the audience from over 50 years of space history. 

On that occasion Johannes Kepler proved to be a true bridge-builder when Leonov explained how Kepler influenced and still is any cosmonaut during training - of course, the Kepler laws are a "must" for every cosmonaut candidate. A true meaning of Kepler can't be overestimated also for young scientists of today.

A surprising visit by the European TV station "Arte" who interviewed Alexey Leonov rounded up the event in Weil der Stadt. 

Florian Noller with Alexey Leonov and Anatoly Solovjov

Private painting course with Alexey Leonov

During a private lunch with the family of Florian Noller at his home Alexey Leonov did a short painting course with his kids.

 Alexey Leonov with Florian Noller kids

 Alexey Leonov sketchAlexey Leonov sketch