Valentina Tereshkova
Overview
 
Valentina Vladimirovna Tereshkova (born March 6, 1937) is a retired Soviet
Soviet Union
The Soviet Union , officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics , was a constitutionally socialist state that existed in Eurasia between 1922 and 1991....

 cosmonaut
Astronaut
An astronaut or cosmonaut is a person trained by a human spaceflight program to command, pilot, or serve as a crew member of a spacecraft....

, and was the first woman in space. She was selected out of more than four hundred applicants, and then out of five finalists, to pilot Vostok 6
Vostok 6
-Backup crew:-Reserve crew:Vostok VI-Mission parameters:*Mass: *Apogee: *Perigee: *Inclination: 64.9°*Period: 87.8 minutes9090...

 on the 16 June, 1963, becoming both the first woman and the first civilian to fly in space
Outer space
Outer space is the void that exists between celestial bodies, including the Earth. It is not completely empty, but consists of a hard vacuum containing a low density of particles: predominantly a plasma of hydrogen and helium, as well as electromagnetic radiation, magnetic fields, and neutrinos....

, as she was only honorarily inducted into the USSR's Air Force
Soviet Air Force
The Soviet Air Force, officially known in Russian as Военно-воздушные силы or Voenno-Vozdushnye Sily and often abbreviated VVS was the official designation of one of the air forces of the Soviet Union. The other was the Soviet Air Defence Forces...

 as a condition on joining the Cosmonaut Corps.
Encyclopedia
Valentina Vladimirovna Tereshkova (born March 6, 1937) is a retired Soviet
Soviet Union
The Soviet Union , officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics , was a constitutionally socialist state that existed in Eurasia between 1922 and 1991....

 cosmonaut
Astronaut
An astronaut or cosmonaut is a person trained by a human spaceflight program to command, pilot, or serve as a crew member of a spacecraft....

, and was the first woman in space. She was selected out of more than four hundred applicants, and then out of five finalists, to pilot Vostok 6
Vostok 6
-Backup crew:-Reserve crew:Vostok VI-Mission parameters:*Mass: *Apogee: *Perigee: *Inclination: 64.9°*Period: 87.8 minutes9090...

 on the 16 June, 1963, becoming both the first woman and the first civilian to fly in space
Outer space
Outer space is the void that exists between celestial bodies, including the Earth. It is not completely empty, but consists of a hard vacuum containing a low density of particles: predominantly a plasma of hydrogen and helium, as well as electromagnetic radiation, magnetic fields, and neutrinos....

, as she was only honorarily inducted into the USSR's Air Force
Soviet Air Force
The Soviet Air Force, officially known in Russian as Военно-воздушные силы or Voenno-Vozdushnye Sily and often abbreviated VVS was the official designation of one of the air forces of the Soviet Union. The other was the Soviet Air Defence Forces...

 as a condition on joining the Cosmonaut Corps. During her three-day mission, she performed various tests on herself to collect data on the female body's reaction to spaceflight.

Before being recruited as a cosmonaut, Tereshkova was a textile-factory assembly worker and an amateur parachutist
Parachute
A parachute is a device used to slow the motion of an object through an atmosphere by creating drag, or in the case of ram-air parachutes, aerodynamic lift. Parachutes are usually made out of light, strong cloth, originally silk, now most commonly nylon...

. After the dissolution of the first group of female cosmonauts in 1969, she became a prominent member of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union
Communist Party of the Soviet Union
The Communist Party of the Soviet Union was the only legal, ruling political party in the Soviet Union and one of the largest communist organizations in the world...

, holding various political offices. After the collapse of the Soviet Union
Soviet Union
The Soviet Union , officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics , was a constitutionally socialist state that existed in Eurasia between 1922 and 1991....

, she retired from politics, but remains revered as a hero in post-Soviet Russia
Russia
Russia or , officially known as both Russia and the Russian Federation , is a country in northern Eurasia. It is a federal semi-presidential republic, comprising 83 federal subjects...

.

Early life

Tereshkova was born in the village Maslennikovo, Tutayev Raion
Tutayevsky District
Tutayevsky District is an administrative district , one of the 17 in Yaroslavl Oblast, Russia....

, Yaroslavl Oblast
Yaroslavl Oblast
Yaroslavl Oblast is a federal subject of Russia , which is located in the Central Federal District, surrounded by Tver, Moscow, Ivanovo, Vladimir, Kostroma, and Vologda Oblasts. This geographic location affords the oblast the advantages of proximity to Moscow and St. Petersburg...

, in central Russia. Her parents migrated from Belarus
Belarus
Belarus , officially the Republic of Belarus, is a landlocked country in Eastern Europe, bordered clockwise by Russia to the northeast, Ukraine to the south, Poland to the west, and Lithuania and Latvia to the northwest. Its capital is Minsk; other major cities include Brest, Grodno , Gomel ,...

. Tereshkova's father was a tractor driver and her mother worked in a textile plant. Tereshkova 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 skydiving at the local Aeroclub, making her first jump at age 22 on 21 May 1959; at the time, she was employed as a textile worker in a local factory. It was her expertise in skydiving that led to her selection as a cosmonaut. In 1961 she became the secretary of the local Komsomol
Komsomol
The Communist Union of Youth , usually known as Komsomol , was the youth division of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union. The Komsomol in its earliest form was established in urban centers in 1918. During the early years, it was a Russian organization, known as the Russian Communist Union of...

 (Young Communist League) and later joined the Communist Party of the Soviet Union
Communist Party of the Soviet Union
The Communist Party of the Soviet Union was the only legal, ruling political party in the Soviet Union and one of the largest communist organizations in the world...

.

Career in the Soviet space program

After the flight of Yuri Gagarin
Yuri Gagarin
Yuri Alekseyevich Gagarin was a Soviet pilot and cosmonaut. He was the first human to journey into outer space, when his Vostok spacecraft completed an orbit of the Earth on April 12, 1961....

 in 1961, Sergey Korolyov
Sergey Korolyov
Sergei Pavlovich Korolev ; died 14 January 1966 in Moscow, Russia) was the lead Soviet rocket engineer and spacecraft designer in the Space Race between the United States and the Soviet Union during the 1950s and 1960s...

, the chief Soviet rocket engineer, came up with the idea of putting a woman in space. On February 16, 1962, Valentina Tereshkova was selected to join the female cosmonaut corps. Out of more than four hundred applicants, five were selected: Tatyana Kuznetsova
Tatyana Kuznetsova
Tatyana Dmitryevna Kuznetsova is a former Soviet cosmonaut. She is the youngest person ever selected by a government human spaceflight program....

, Irina Solovyova
Irina Solovyova
Irina Bayanovna Solovyova was one of the five women chosen in the female group, now a retired Soviet cosmonaut. She never flew into space, but was chosen as the backup to Valentina Tereshkova, the first woman in space via Vostok 6 in June, 1963...

, Zhanna Yorkina
Zhanna Yorkina
Zhanna Dmitriyevna Yorkina is a former Soviet Cosmonaut.In December 1961, the selection of female cosmonaut trainees was authorized by the Soviet government, with the specific intention of ensuring the first woman in space was a Soviet citizen...

, Valentina Ponomaryova
Valentina Ponomaryova
Valentina Leonidovna Ponomaryova is a former Soviet Cosmonaut.In December 1961, the selection of female cosmonauts was authorised by the Soviet Government, with the specific intention of ensuring the first woman in space was a Soviet citizen. In February 1962 Ponomaryova was selected in a group of...

, and Tereshkova. Qualifications included that they be parachutists under 30 years of age, under 170 cm (5 feet 7 inches) tall, and under 70 kg (154 lbs.) in weight.

Tereshkova was considered a particularly worthy candidate, partly due to her "proletarian" background, and because her father, tank leader sergeant
Sergeant
Sergeant is a rank used in some form by most militaries, police forces, and other uniformed organizations around the world. Its origins are the Latin serviens, "one who serves", through the French term Sergent....

 Vladimir Tereshkov, was a war hero. He lost his life in the Finnish Winter War
Winter War
The Winter War was a military conflict between the Soviet Union and Finland. It began with a Soviet offensive on 30 November 1939 – three months after the start of World War II and the Soviet invasion of Poland – and ended on 13 March 1940 with the Moscow Peace Treaty...

 during World War II in the Lemetti area in Finnish Karelia
Karelia
Karelia , the land of the Karelian peoples, is an area in Northern Europe of historical significance for Finland, Russia, and Sweden...

. Tereshkova was two years old at the time of her father's death. After her mission she was asked how the Soviet Union should thank her for her service to the country. Tereshkova asked that the government search for, and publish, the location where her father was killed in action. This was done, and a monument now stands 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
Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-15
The Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-15 was a jet fighter developed for the USSR by Artem Mikoyan and Mikhail Gurevich. The MiG-15 was one of the first successful swept-wing jet fighters, and it achieved fame in the skies over Korea, where early in the war, it outclassed all straight-winged enemy fighters in...

 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, Solovyova 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 Bykovsky flying 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 May 21 and this was confirmed by Nikita Khrushchev
Nikita Khrushchev
Nikita Sergeyevich Khrushchev led the Soviet Union during part of the Cold War. He served as First Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union from 1953 to 1964, and as Chairman of the Council of Ministers, or Premier, from 1958 to 1964...

 himself. At the time of her selection, Tereshkova was ten years younger than the youngest Mercury Seven
Mercury Seven
Mercury Seven was the group of seven Mercury astronauts selected by NASA on April 9, 1959. They are also referred to as the Original Seven and Astronaut Group 1...

 astronaut, Gordon Cooper
Gordon Cooper
Leroy Gordon Cooper, Jr. , also known as Gordon Cooper, was an American aeronautical engineer, test pilot and NASA astronaut. Cooper was one of the seven original astronauts in Project Mercury, the first manned space effort by the United States...

.

After watching the successful launch of Vostok 5
Vostok 5
-Backup crew:-Reserve crew:-Mission parameters:*Mass *Apogee: *Perigee: *Inclination: 64.9°*Period: 88.4 minutes...

 on June 14, Tereshkova began final preparations for her own flight. She was 26 at the time. On the morning of 16 June 1963, Tereshkova and her back-up Solovyova were both dressed in spacesuits and taken to the launch pad
Launch pad
A launch pad is the area and facilities where rockets or spacecraft lift off. A spaceport can contain one or many launch pads. A typical launch pad consists of the service and umbilical structures. The service structure provides an access platform to inspect the launch vehicle prior to launch....

 by bus. After completing her communication and life support checks, she was sealed inside the Vostok. After a flawless two-hour countdown, Vostok 6
Vostok 6
-Backup crew:-Reserve crew:Vostok VI-Mission parameters:*Mass: *Apogee: *Perigee: *Inclination: 64.9°*Period: 87.8 minutes9090...

 launched faultlessly, and Tereshkova became the first woman to fly into space. Her call sign in this flight was Chaika (English
English language
English is a West Germanic language that arose in the Anglo-Saxon kingdoms of England and spread into what was to become south-east Scotland under the influence of the Anglian medieval kingdom of Northumbria...

: Seagull; ), later commemorated as the name of an asteroid, 1671 Chaika
1671 Chaika
1671 Chaika is a main-belt asteroid discovered on October 3, 1934 by Neujmin, G. at Simeis. The name commemorates the call sign of cosmonaut Valentina Tereshkova, the first woman in space.- External links :...

.

Although Tereshkova experienced nausea
Nausea
Nausea , is a sensation of unease and discomfort in the upper stomach with an involuntary urge to vomit. It often, but not always, precedes vomiting...

 and physical discomfort for much of the flight, 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 who had flown before that date. Tereshkova also maintained a flight log and took photographs of the horizon, which were later used to identify aerosol
Aerosol
Technically, an aerosol is a suspension of fine solid particles or liquid droplets in a gas. Examples are clouds, and air pollution such as smog and smoke. In general conversation, aerosol usually refers to an aerosol spray can or the output of such a can...

 layers within the atmosphere
Atmosphere
An atmosphere is a layer of gases that may surround a material body of sufficient mass, and that is held in place by the gravity of the body. An atmosphere may be retained for a longer duration, if the gravity is high and the atmosphere's temperature is low...

.

Vostok 6
Vostok 6
-Backup crew:-Reserve crew:Vostok VI-Mission parameters:*Mass: *Apogee: *Perigee: *Inclination: 64.9°*Period: 87.8 minutes9090...

 was the final Vostok flight and was launched two days after Vostok 5
Vostok 5
-Backup crew:-Reserve crew:-Mission parameters:*Mass *Apogee: *Perigee: *Inclination: 64.9°*Period: 88.4 minutes...

 which carried Valery Bykovsky into a similar orbit for five days, landing three hours after Tereshkova. The two vessels approached each other within 5 kilometres (3.1 mi) at one point, and Tereshkova communicated with Bykovsky and with Khrushchev by radio.

Even though there were plans for further flights by women, it took 19 years until the second woman, Svetlana Savitskaya
Svetlana Savitskaya
Svetlana Yevgenyevna Savitskaya She started training as a cosmonaut in 1980. Upon returning to Earth, Savitskaya was assigned as the commander of an all-female Soyuz crew to Salyut 7 in commemoration of the International Women's Day, a mission that was later canceled.She was twice awarded the Hero...

, flew into space. None of the other four in Tereshkova's early group ever flew, and in October 1969 the pioneering female cosmonaut group was dissolved.

Later career

After her flight, she studied at the Zhukovsky Air Force Academy and graduated with distinction as a cosmonaut engineer. In 1977 she earned a doctorate in engineering. Due to her prominence she was chosen for several political positions: from 1966 to 1974 she was a member of the Supreme Soviet of the Soviet Union, from 1974 to 1989 a member of the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet
Presidium of the Supreme Soviet
The Presidium of the Supreme Soviet was a Soviet governmental institution – a permanent body of the Supreme Soviets . This body was of the all-Union level , as well as in all Soviet republics and autonomous republics...

, and from 1969 to 1991 she was in the Central Committee of the Communist Party. In 1997 she was retired from the air force
VVS
VVS is a three letter acronym which may refer to:* Very Very Slightly Included, a way of describing the clarity of a diamond* Vulvar vestibulitis syndrome, a syndrome of vulvodynia associated with chronic disease* V. V. S...

 and the cosmonaut corps by presidential order.

After the Vostok 6
Vostok 6
-Backup crew:-Reserve crew:Vostok VI-Mission parameters:*Mass: *Apogee: *Perigee: *Inclination: 64.9°*Period: 87.8 minutes9090...

 flight a rumor began circulating that she would marry Andrian Nikolayev
Andrian Nikolayev
Andriyan Grigoryevich Nikolayev , was a Soviet cosmonaut. He was an ethnic Chuvash.- History :...

 (1929–2004), the only bachelor cosmonaut to have flown. Nikolayev and Tereshkova married on 3 November 1963 at the Moscow Wedding Palace. Khrushchev himself presided at the wedding party, together with top government and space program leaders.

On June 8, 1964, she gave birth to their daughter Elena Andrianovna Nikolaeva-Tereshkova  (who is now a doctor and was the first person to have both a mother and father who had travelled into space). 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 Council
World Peace Council
The World Peace Council is an international organization that advocates universal disarmament, sovereignty and independence and peaceful co-existence, and campaigns against imperialism, weapons of mass destruction and all forms of discrimination...

 in 1966, a member of the Yaroslavl
Yaroslavl Oblast
Yaroslavl Oblast is a federal subject of Russia , which is located in the Central Federal District, surrounded by Tver, Moscow, Ivanovo, Vladimir, Kostroma, and Vologda Oblasts. This geographic location affords the oblast the advantages of proximity to Moscow and St. Petersburg...

 Soviet in 1967, a member of the Supreme Soviet of the Soviet Union in 1966–1970 and 1970–1974, and was elected to the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet
Presidium of the Supreme Soviet
The Presidium of the Supreme Soviet was a Soviet governmental institution – a permanent body of the Supreme Soviets . This body was of the all-Union level , as well as in all Soviet republics and autonomous republics...

 in 1974. She was also the Soviet representative to the UN Conference for the International Women's Year
International Women's Year
International Women's Year was the name given to 1975 by the United Nations. Since that year March 8 has been celebrated as International Women's Day, and the United Nations Decade for Women, from 1976–1985, was also established.-International:...

 in Mexico City
Mexico City
Mexico City is the Federal District , capital of Mexico and seat of the federal powers of the Mexican Union. It is a federal entity within Mexico which is not part of any one of the 31 Mexican states but belongs to the federation as a whole...

 in 1975. She also led the Soviet delegation to the World Conference on Women in Copenhagen and played a critical role in shaping the socialist women's global agenda for peace. 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 with the Hero of the Soviet Union
Hero of the Soviet Union
The title Hero of the Soviet Union was the highest distinction in the Soviet Union, awarded personally or collectively for heroic feats in service to the Soviet state and society.-Overview:...

 medal, the USSR's highest award. She was also awarded the Order of Lenin
Order of Lenin
The Order of Lenin , named after the leader of the Russian October Revolution, was the highest decoration bestowed by the Soviet Union...

, Order of the October Revolution
Order of the October Revolution
The Order of the October Revolution was instituted on October 31, 1967, in time for the 50th anniversary of the October Revolution. It was awarded to individuals or groups for services furthering communism or the state, or in enhancing the defenses of the Soviet Union, military and civil...

, numerous other medals, and foreign orders including the Karl Marx Order, United 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
University of Edinburgh
The University of Edinburgh, founded in 1583, is a public research university located in Edinburgh, the capital of Scotland, and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The university is deeply embedded in the fabric of the city, with many of the buildings in the historic Old Town belonging to the university...

. Tereshkova crater
Tereshkova (crater)
Tereshkova is a relatively small lunar impact crater on the far side of the Moon. It is located along the western perimeter of the Mare Moscoviense, and to the southeast of the crater Feoktistov. It is named for cosmonaut Valentina Tereshkova, the first woman in space.The rim of this crater...

 on the far side of the Moon
Far side of the Moon
The far side of the Moon is the lunar hemisphere that is permanently turned away, and is not visible from the surface of the Earth. The far hemisphere was first photographed by the Soviet Luna 3 probe in 1959, and was first directly observed by human eyes when the Apollo 8 mission orbited the Moon...

 was named after her. Valentina Tereshkova became the first and still remains to be the only female general officer in both Soviet and Russian armed forces.

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 Gagarin
Yuri Gagarin
Yuri Alekseyevich Gagarin was a Soviet pilot and cosmonaut. He was the first human to journey into outer space, when his Vostok spacecraft completed an orbit of the Earth on April 12, 1961....

 and Alexey 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 first examined (in the west) in the 1975 book: It Is I, Sea Gull; Valentina Tereshkova, the first woman in space by Mitchel R. Sharpe and then again in greater detail of her life and spaceflight in the 2007 book Into That Silent Sea
Into That Silent Sea
Into That Silent Sea: Trailblazers of the Space Era 1961-1965 is a 2007 non-fiction book by space historians Francis French and Colin Burgess...

by Colin Burgess
Colin Burgess (author)
Colin Burgess is an Australian author and historian, specializing in space flight and military history. He is a former customer service manager for Qantas Airways, and a regular contributor to the collectSPACE online community. He lives in New South Wales...

 and Francis French
Francis French
Francis French is a book and magazine author from Manchester, England, specializing in space flight history. He is a former director of events for Sally Ride Science, and a director at the San Diego Air & Space Museum....

, including interviews with Tereshkova and her colleagues.

Tereshkova was invited to Prime Minister Vladimir Putin
Vladimir Putin
Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin served as the second President of the Russian Federation and is the current Prime Minister of Russia, as well as chairman of United Russia and Chairman of the Council of Ministers of the Union of Russia and Belarus. He became acting President on 31 December 1999, when...

's residence in Novo-Ogaryovo
Novo-Ogaryovo
Novo-Ogaryovo , also Novo-Ogarevo, is an estate in the Odintsovo District of Moscow Oblast to the west of the city, by the Rublyovo-Uspenskoye Highway and is the location of a suburban official residence of the President of Russia, officially recognized as such in 2000.The residence was constructed...

 for 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.

On 5 April 2008, she became a torchbearer of the 2008 Summer Olympics torch relay
2008 Summer Olympics torch relay
The 2008 Summer Olympics torch relay was run from March 24 until August 8, 2008, prior to the 2008 Summer Olympics, with the theme of "one world, one dream". Plans for the relay were announced on April 26, 2007, in Beijing, China...

 in Saint Petersburg
Saint Petersburg
Saint Petersburg is a city and a federal subject of Russia located on the Neva River at the head of the Gulf of Finland on the Baltic Sea...

, Russia
Russia
Russia or , officially known as both Russia and the Russian Federation , is a country in northern Eurasia. It is a federal semi-presidential republic, comprising 83 federal subjects...

.

She received the Eduard Rhein Ring of Honor from the German Eduard Rhein Foundation in 2007.

External links

The source of this article is wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.  The text of this article is licensed under the GFDL.
 
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