- Valentina Tereshkova
name =Valentina Vladimirovna Tereshkova
type = Cosmonaut
date_birth =birth date and age|1937|03|06
Yaroslavl Oblast, USSR
Major General, Soviet Air Force
selection =Female Group
time =2d 22h 50m
Valentina Vladimirovna Tereshkova ( _ru. Валенти́на Влади́мировна Терешко́ва; born
6 March 1937), is a retired Soviet cosmonaut and was the first woman to fly in space, aboard Vostok 6on 16 June 1963.
Tereshkova was born in
Bolshoye Maslennikovo, a small village in the Yaroslavl Oblastin western Russia. Her father was a tractor driver and her mother worked in a textile plant. She began school in 1945 at the age of eight, but left school in 1953 and continued her education by correspondence courses. She became interested in parachuting from a young age, and trained in parachutingat the local Aeroclub, making her first jump at age 22 on 21 May 1959. It was her expertise in parachute jumping that led to her selection as a cosmonaut. Tereshkova was a textile-factory assembly worker and an amateur parachutist when she was recruited into the cosmonaut program. In 1961 she became secretary of the local Komsomol(Young Communist League) and later joined the Communist Party of the Soviet Union.
Career in Soviet space program
After the flight of
Yuri Gagarinin 1961, Sergey Korolyov, the head Soviet rocket engineer, came up with the idea of putting a woman in space. On 16 February 1962, Valentina Tereshkova was selected to join the female cosmonaut corps. Out of more than four hundred applicants, five were selected: Tatyana Kuznetsova, Irina Solovyova, Zhanna Yerkina, Valentina Ponomareva, and Tereshkova. Qualifications included that they be parachutists under 30 years of age, under 170 cm tall, and under 70 kg in weight.
Tereshkova was considered a particularly worthy candidate, partly due to her "
proletarian" background, and because her father, tank leader, sergeantVladimir Tereshkov had died as a war heroin the Finnish Winter Warduring World War II in the Lemettiarea in Finnish Karelia. Tereshkova was two years old at the time of her father's death. After her mission she was asked about how the Soviet Union should thank her for her service to the country. Tereshkova asked the state to search and publish the location where her father was killed in action. This was done and a monument is now standing at the site in Lemetti—now on the Russian side of the border. Tereshkova has since visited Finland several times.
Training included weightless flights, isolation tests, centrifuge tests, rocket theory, spacecraft engineering, 120 parachute jumps and pilot training in MiG-15UTI jet fighters. The group spent several months in intensive training, concluding with examinations in November 1962, after which four remaining candidates were commissioned Junior Lieutenants in the Soviet Air Force. Tereshkova, Solovyeva and Ponomaryova were the leading candidates, and a joint mission profile was developed that would see two women launched into space, on solo Vostok flights on consecutive days in March or April 1963.
Originally it was intended that Tereshkova would launch first in Vostok 5 while Ponomaryova would follow her into orbit in Vostok 6. However, this flight plan was altered in March 1963.  Vostok 5 would now carry a male cosmonaut
Valery Bykovskyflying the joint mission with a woman aboard Vostok 6 in June 1963. The State Space Commission nominated Tereshkova to pilot Vostok 6 at their meeting on 21 Mayand this was confirmed by Nikita Khrushchevhimself. At the time of her selection, Tereshkova was ten years younger than the youngest Mercury Sevenastronaut, Gordon Cooper.
After watching the successful launch of
Vostok 5on 14 JuneTereshkova began final preparations for her own flight. On the morning of 16 June 1963, Tereshkova and her back-up Solovyeva were both dressed in spacesuits and taken to the launch padby bus. After completing her communication and life support checks, she was sealed inside the Vostok. After a flawless countdown, two hours later Vostok 6launched faultlessly, and Tereshkova became the first woman to fly into space. Her call sign in this flight was Chaika (English: Seagull; _ru. Ча́йка), commemorated in the asteroid name 1671 Chaika.
Although Tereshkova was in the state of
nauseaand physical discomfort for much of the flight, [http://www.rian.ru/review/20060616/49619382.html "Valentina Tereshkova: the Woman who Conquered the Space"] ru icon] she orbited the earth 48 times and spent almost three days in space. With a single flight, she logged more flight time than the combined times of all American astronauts to that date. Tereshkova also maintained a flight log and took photographs of the horizon, which were later used to identify aerosollayers within the atmosphere. Vostok 6was the final Vostok flight and was launched only two days after Vostok 5which carried Valery Bykovskyinto orbit for five days, landing only three hours after Tereshkova. The two vessels were at one point only 5 km apart and established a radio link.
Even though there were plans for further female flights it took 19 years until the second woman,
Svetlana Savitskaya, flew into space, with the pressure of impending American Space Shuttleflights with female astronauts. None of the other four in Tereshkova's cosmonaut group ever flew. This was partly because space adaptation syndromewas less well understood, and since hers was the first flight to have orbited for so long, it was asserted that women were unsuitable rather than being a common individual reaction.
After her flight she studied at the
Zhukovsky Air Force Academyand graduated with a distinction as cosmonaut engineer in 1969. The same year, the female cosmonaut group was dissolved. In 1977she received a doctorate of engineering. Due to her prominence she was chosen for several political positions: From 1966to 1974she was a member of the Supreme Soviet, from 1974to 1989in the Presidiumof the Supreme Soviet, from 1969to 1991she was in the Central Committee of the Communist Party. In 1997she was retired from the air force and the cosmonaut corps by presidential order.
Vostok 6flight a rumor began circulating that she would marry Andrian Nikolayev(1929–2004), the only bachelor cosmonaut to have flown. Nikolayev and Tereshkova married on 3 November 1963at the Moscow Wedding Palace. Khrushchev himself presided at the wedding party, together with top government and space program leaders.
She gave birth to their daughter
Elena Andrianovna(who is now a doctor and was the first person to have both a mother and father who had travelled into space) in 1964. She and Nikolayev divorced in 1982. Her second husband, Yuli Shaposhnikov, died in 1999.
Valentina Tereshkova later became a prominent member of the Soviet government and a well known representative abroad. She was made a member of the
World Peace Councilin 1966, a member of the Yaroslavl Soviet in 1967, a member of the Soviet of the Unionof the Supreme Sovietin 1966–1970 and 1970–1974, and was elected to the Presidium of the Supreme Sovietin 1974. She was also the Soviet representative to the UN Conference for the International Women's Yearin Mexico Cityin 1975. She attained the rank of deputy to the Supreme Soviet, membership of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union Central Committee, Vice President of the International Woman’s Democratic Federation and President of the Soviet-Algerian Friendship Society.
She was decorated
Hero of the Soviet Union, the USSR's highest award. She was also awarded the Order of Lenin, Order of the October Revolution, numerous medals, and foreign orders including the Karl Marx OrderUnited Nations Gold Medal of Peace and the Simba International Women’s Movement Award. She was also bestowed a title of the Hero of Socialist Labor of Czechoslovakia, Hero of Labor of Vietnam, and Hero of Mongolia. In 1990 she received an honorary doctorate from the University of Edinburgh. A crater on the far side of the Moon is named after Tereshkova.
After the collapse of the Soviet Union, Tereshkova lost her political office but none of her prestige. To this day, she is still revered as a Russian hero, and to some her importance in Russian space history is only surpassed by
Yuri Gagarinand Alexei Leonov. Since her retirement from politics, she appears infrequently at space-related events, and appears to be content with being out of the limelight.
Tereshkova's life and spaceflight were examined in detail in the 2007 book "
Into That Silent Sea" by Colin Burgess and Francis French, including interviews with Tereshkova and her colleagues.
Tereshkova was invited to President
Vladimir Putin's residence in Novo-Ogaryovofor the celebration of her 70th birthday. While there she said that she would like to fly to Mars, even if it meant that it was a one way trip.cite web|url=http://www.reuters.com/article/scienceNews/idUSL0647601420070306|title=First woman in space dreams of flying to Mars|author=Reuters|accessdate=2008-05-26]
April 5, 2008she became a torchbearer of the 2008 Summer Olympics torch relayin St Petersburg, Russia. [ [http://www.kp.ru/daily/24075/312208/ Kp.Ru // Нкхлохияйхи Нцнмэ Онмеяср Дпсгэ, Тпеимдкху Х Окчыемйн ] ]
* [http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/europe/966992.stm BBC: Tereshkova received the Greatest Woman of the Century Award]
* [http://www.energia.ru/english/energia/history/tereshkova/tereshkova-bio.html RSC Energia Biography of Tereschkova] including a comprehensive list of awards and honors.
* [http://en.rian.ru/photolents/20070306/61614026.html Image gallery: Valentina Tereshkova]
* [http://www.astronautix.com/astros/terhkova.htm Biography of Tereshkova]
NAME= Tereshkova, Valentina Vladimirovna
ALTERNATIVE NAMES=Терешко́ва, Валенти́на Влади́мировна
SHORT DESCRIPTION=Soviet cosmonaut and was the first woman to fly in space
DATE OF BIRTH=
6 March 1937
PLACE OF BIRTH=
Bolshoye Maslennikovo, Yaroslavl Oblast, USSR
DATE OF DEATH=
PLACE OF DEATH=
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