Sunday, July 15, 2018
The Cosmonaut Alexei Leonov
The Cosmonaut Alexei Leonov is a fictional Soviet spaceship in the novel 2010: Odyssey Two, and its film adaptation 2010. It was named after Soviet Air Force General Alexey Leonov, the first man to walk in space.
In the book, Leonov is described as being equipped with a Sakharov drive, a fictional new method of propulsion that makes it possible for the craft to make a round-trip to Jupiter. The craft also uses a large heatshield to aerobrake in Jupiter's outer atmosphere, saving fuel. In recognition of Alexei Leonov, after whom the craft is named, there is a framed painting by the cosmonaut in the mess room. The Russians are said to view gravity as more or less a luxury and the Leonov does not have artificial gravity. The ship was originally to be christened the Gherman Titov, but was changed later for undisclosed reasons; a character in the film version offers the cryptic explanation that "people [presumably referring to either Titov or someone involved with the current mission] fall out of favor", but does not elaborate.
In the film, Leonov is shown to have a large rotating midsection providing artificial gravity and has a large ballute in place of the heatshield.
The model of the Leonov for the film was designed by Syd Mead.