The First Woman in Space
After achieving the historic milestone of the “first man in space,” with Yuri Gagarin, the Soviet Union also hoped to be the first country to put a woman in space as well. They selected Valentina Tereshkova among hundreds to go into outer space. On June 16, 1963, that’s exactly what she did. Her extensive experience in parachuting, her “working-class” background, and her connection to her father (who was a Russo-Finnish hero) led to her selection. Her mission was to orbit the Earth, and she did that 48 times over three days!
She kept a thorough flight log and took photographs, which proved very useful for atmospheric studies. After her return home, Valentina went on to be a cosmonaut engineer and became involved in politics. She married another cosmonaut (aww!), and they had a daughter together. Unfortunately, after her flight on the Vostok 6, they disbanded the women’s corps. It would be almost twenty years before another woman would go into space. Valentina was only 26 years old at the time of her space trip. We bet we’re all feeling a bit old now, right? They also named a Hero of the Soviet Union and awarded her the Order of Lenin twice.