Thursday, June 16, 2011

Valentina Tereschkova - First Woman in Space

Colonel-Engineer Valentina Vladimirovna Tereshkova (born March 6, 1937) was a Soviet cosmonaut and the first woman in Space. She was on the Vostok 6 mission which launched on June 16, 1963, and orbited the Earth 48 times. The flight lasted 70.8 hours.

The Vostok 5 spacecraft was recovered on June 19, 1963, in the Soviet Union. Tereshkova had parachuted from the spacecraft after earth's atmospheric re-entry. She landed about 380 miles northeast of Karaganda, Kazakhstan. 

Tereshkova had been an expert in parachuting and a factory worker before she wrote to the Soviet Space program, volunteering to become the first woman in Space. She was selected out of more than 400 applicants and was subjected to extensive tests and interviews that began in December 1961. 

Two women, Valentina Tereshkova and Tatyana Torchillova were chosen in May 1963, to train for the Vostok 6 flight. Tereshkova, however, was the final choice. 

Tereshkova was given the title "Hero of the Soviet Union," received the Order of Lenin, and was honored with the United Nations Gold Medal of Peace. She never flew into Space again.