In the novels of Arthur C. Clarke, the Russian spacecraft that made the second manned journey to Jupiter (and the last one before it became Lucifer) in 2010. Named after Cosmonaut Alexei Leonov, the vessel was powered by the Sakharov Drive, and carried a crew of seven Russians plus three American experts, including Dr. Heywood Floyd and Dr. Chandra. (Descriptions of the ship diverge between the novel and movie versions, so I'm including as little description as possible here. --Erbo)

As the Leonov approached Jupiter, the crew was startled to find that they were being overtaken by the Chinese spacecraft Tsien, which had left Earth orbit after they did. The crew, including Dr. Floyd (who had been awakened from hibernation at the request of the U.S. Government), could only watch and listen as Tsien made a successful landing on Europa, only to be destroyed by an unexpected life-form on the planet's surface. Soon thereafter, Leonov made an aerobraking maneuver in Jupiter's atmosphere to bring it into a safe orbit, where it could rendezvous with the derelict spacecraft Discovery, in orbit around Io and in danger of crashing into its surface.

The crew of Leonov, with assistance from the Americans, was able to reactivate Discovery and move both vessels away from Io and towards the Lagrange point between it and Jupiter...were "TMA-2," the half-kilometer-long monolith, was positioned. The monolith defied all their attempts at analysis, but one crew member spotted something emerging from it towards Earth...an energy burst that turned out to be David Bowman.

Bowman reappeared on Discovery, using the recently-reactivated HAL 9000 to send a warning message to Dr. Floyd, urging them to leave. None of Leonov's crew took the warning seriously until the monolith vanished without a trace; afterwards, they devised a plan to use Discovery as a "first stage" to put Leonov on the right trajectory for home. The plan worked, and, while Discovery was destroyed in the explosion that turned Jupiter into Lucifer, Leonov emerged unscathed.

Leonov's return journey to Earth was uneventful, except for one tragic loss: the death of Dr. Chandra in hibernation, and his subsequent burial in space by Leonov's crew. Following this mission, Leonov was made into one of the main exhibits at an orbiting museum above the Lunar Farside, where it remained at least through 2061.

Source: Arthur C. Clarke, 2010: odyssey two, 2061: odyssey three

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