First Female Astronaut


Xitlalic Villanueva

Valentina Tereshkova was the very first female astronaut to travel into space. Born in Maslennikovo, Russia in 1937, she began working at a textile factory at the age of 18 and later began being obsessed with skydiving after her first parachute jump. With her love for sky diving, it brought her to volunteer at the Soviet space program when they looked to send the first women to space in the 1960s. With the experience she had with skydiving it led her to be selected in February 1962 along with 3 other women to begin intensive cosmonaut training. Valentina was later chosen to be part of the second, dual flight in the Vostok program, and on June 16, 1963 she was launched into space on the Vostok 6 spacecraft. She spent 3 days in orbit around earth.

After her flight she received the Order of Lenin, Hero of the Soviet Union Award, the Gold Star Medal and even the United Nations Gold Medal of Peace after becoming a spokesperson for the Soviet Union. This was the last time she traveled to space, but she continued working with politicians, and the experience inspired her to get a doctorate in technical sciences and become a test pilot. Her love for skydiving opened so many doors for her, and she became such an inspiration to not only people in her time but today as well.

Her legacy continues and she is celebrated through books and in museums. In 2017 London’s science Museum opened an exhibit named “Valentina Tereshkova: First woman in space” where artifacts and photographs honor her and her actions. There is also a Broadway play and a documentary created to show Tereshkova’s accomplishments and to continue to inspire people around the world to always fight for their dreams no matter how big they are. Like Tereshkova said “Anyone who has spent any time in space will love it for the rest of their lives. I achieved my childhood dream of the sky.”


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Valentina Tereshkova: First Woman in Space

Soviet cosmonaut Valentina Tereshkova becomes the first woman in space