The Maker of a Milestone in Women History
By Molly Proctor
It was June 16 1963 when Valentina Tereskova, a 26 year old cosmonaut, amateur parachutist and woman history maker blasted off and became the first woman in space.
Valentina was born March 6th 1937, Maslenn, Russia, into a peasant family. She was one of 3 children and began school at the early age of 8 in 1945 and dropped out when she was 18 in 1953 to start work. Valentina started work in a textile mill. Valentina was interested in parachuting and joined a amateur parachuting club. Valentina was a hard worker and made just one-hundred and twenty-five jumps before volunteering for space flight training school. At the age of 24 Valentina applied to be a cosmonaut. In 1961 the soviet space program started accepting applications from women to go on the vostok-6 mission although they would also become the first woman in space.Valentina was chosen from over four-hundred applicants and five finalists.
After seven months of intense training Valentina Tereshkova blasted off in the Vostok-6 on June 16 1963, only two days after the Vostok She made a 70.6 hour spaceflight (which is nearly three days) and made forty- eight orbits aroud the earth thus becoming the first woman in space. Valentina also became the first civilian to fly manually in space. While in space Valentina conducted various tests on herself and recorded results to see the female reaction to spaceflight. After re-entering the earth's atmosphere Valentina parachuted from her capsule and back on to land.
Valentina married Andrien G. Nikalayer who is also a cosmonaut in November 1963. They had a child together named Elena in 1964. Andrien and Valentina divorced in 1980Valentina Tereshkova was honoured with the title of 'Hero of the Soviet Union'. While being spokes person of the soviet union Valentina received ' The United Nations Gold Medal of Peace'.From Valentina Tereshkova's notes we can now know the female reaction to spaceflight. She has made a significant contribution to our knowlede of what it is that female astronauts go through in their time in space, what is safe for female kind to do in space. Valentina Tereshkova still remains the only woman to have a solo spaceflight. Although Valentina has not made a second trip she is ready to forget retirement at the the age of 76 and go on an exhilarating adventure to Mars! "I am ready to go to mars" were her words on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of her flight.