06 Mar Happy Birthday Blog: Valentina Tereshkova
Valentina Vladimirovna Tereshkova
Born: March 6, 1937
Bolshoye Maslennikovo, Russia
Known For: First woman to have flown in space
On June 16, 1963 Tereshkova became the first woman to fly in space, when she boarded Vostok 6 and preceded to orbit the Earth 48 times over the course of her two-day trek. Tereshkova had an early interest in flying, training in parachuting and skydiving from an early age. Following the space flight of Yuri Gagarin in 1961, the Soviet space program began to consider training women cosmonauts.
Tereshkova joined 399 other women in applying to the program. It is believe that Valentina was selected because of her previous skydiving experience and the political affiliation of her father. Tereshkova’s flight set a new record for time in space, and her logbook and photographs were also used to help better understand aerosol layers in the atmosphere.
After her space flight, Tereshkova studied at the Zhukovsky Air Force Academy, graduating with a degree in engineering. She would later gain her doctorate in engineering. Later in life she became an influential Russian politician. She held several high profile positions, and spent the rest of her career in political life traveling the world as an ambassador for science and Russia.
She was awarded the Hero of the Soviet Union, the USSR’s highest honor and she’s also had a crater on Mars named after her.
For her contributions to science and for breaking barriers for female cosmonauts, we wish Valentina a happy birthday!
You can read more about her space flight here.