Valentina Tereshkova


Born: 6 March 1937
Birthplace: Maslennikovo, Russia
Best known as: The first woman in space

Soviet cosmonaut Valentina Tereshkova was launched into space aboard the Vostok 6 on 16 June 1963, becoming the first woman to visit outer space. She spent three days aloft before returning safely to earth. The flight made Tereshkova a national hero and she was awarded the high honor of the Order of Lenin. Her flight was considered a scientific coup for the Soviet Union, which also had the first man (Yuri Gagarin) and the first dog (Laika) in space. Before her flight, Tereshkova had been an avid amateur skydiver, which led to her selection for the cosmonaut corps.

Extra credit:

Valentina Tereshkova married fellow cosmonaut Andrian Nikolayev in 1963; they had one daughter together but later separated.

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