Russia’s first woman in space Valentina Tereshkova turns 80
Russia’s Valentina Tereshkova - the first woman in space, holder of the Hero of the Soviet Union title, first-ever lady to have been awarded the rank of Major-General, holder of the Woman of the Century title and legislator is 80 today.
A special exhibition at the lower house of Russia’s parliament timed for the anniversary features some historical artifacts devoted to Valentina Tereshkova’s space flight, accomplished on June 16, 1963.
On display there are the 400-kilogram ejector seat, space suit and 40-kilogram blue ventilation suit with a white seagull embroidered on the left shoulder. Tereshkova’s radio code name during the mission was Chaika (Seagull in Russian). Also, visitors can see a copy of the logbook Tereshkova made notes in on board the Vostok-6 spacecraft.
Tereshkova still remains the sole woman cosmonaut to have accomplished a space mission solo, not as a crew member.
Valentina Tereshkova was born on March 6, 1937 to a peasant family in a village in the Yaroslavl Region. In 1960 she graduated from a light industry vocational college (as a qualified cotton spinning specialist), and in 1969, the Zhukovsky Aerospace and Engineering Academy (as a spaceflight engineer).
Back in the early days of her professional career as a factory worker in Yaroslavl, Tereshkova joined an air sports club - a hobby of many Soviet young men and women in those years - to have performed 163 parachute jumps.
She was one of the first 58 young women who had applied for participation in the Soviet space program to have been enlisted on March 12, 1962. There followed a course of training from March to November 1962. Her space flight lasted nearly three days - 70 hours and 50 minutes, during which time she orbited the globe 48 times. While in flight Tereshkova made notes in the logbook and took photographs.
In 1969-1997 Tereshkova was an instructor at the cosmonauts’ training center.
Alongside her professional career she displayed herself as an active public figure and woman activist. She led the Soviet Women’s Committee in 1968-1987. In the following years she held a number of other high-profile posts in Russian NGOs. Joined modern Russia’s politcs in the early 2000s. On Sept. 18, 2016 Tereshkova was elected to the 7th State Duma on the United Russia ticket.
Tereshkova has to her credit many top Soviet, Russian and foreign awards and the title of honorary citizen of 20 Russian and foreign citizens, including Montreux and Drancy. She is an author of 50 scientific works.