IN 1993 Valentina Tereshkova Became the First Woman To Fly In a Space. The US recruited Tereshkova, a textile factory worker, because of her experience as a parachutist. One of the most challenging aspects of the Vostok spaceflight was ejecting from the capsule before landing (at 20,000 feet above the ground).
The Vostok capsules did not have the rocket engines used in later Soviet spacecraft, it allowed the safe landing of the crew inside the capsule.
Thanks to her parachuting experience, Terešková was well prepared for this challenge. In 1962, just a year before the flight, she (and four other candidates) began intensive training to become cosmonauts.
As Tereshkova’s Vostok 6 spacecraft took off, she shouted, “Hey, heavens, take off your hat, I’m on my way!”
During the nearly 71-hour flight, Tereshkova completed 48 orbits of the Earth, passing within three miles of Vostok 5, which was launched two days earlier and piloted by cosmonaut Valery Bykovsky.
Tereshkova re-entered the atmosphere on June 19, three days after her first launch, ejected from her capsule, and successfully parachuted back to Earth.
Vostok 6 was Valentina Těrešková’s first and only flight. She did not return to space but became a member of the USSR national parliament, the chairman of the Soviet women’s committee, a doctor of technical sciences, and a recipient of the UN Gold Peace Medal.
It took almost 20 years for another woman to go into space.
Fellow cosmonaut Svetlana Savitskaya launched in August 1982, just ahead of American astronaut Sally Ride in 1983. Although many women now follow in her footsteps, Valentina Tereshkova remains the only woman to have made a solo space flight and is one of only four Soviet/Russian women. fly in space.
The honor of her Vostok 6 call sign: “Seagull”, Tereshkova is now 84 years old and lives in a house topped with a seagull weathervane.