Valentina Vladimirovna Tereshkova is a Russian cosmonaut, engineer, and politician. She became the first woman to have flown in space with her historic 63-orbit solo mission aboard Vostok 6 on 16 June 1963. Following her flight, she was honored with the title of Hero of the Soviet Union.
In 2013, at the age of 80, she became a member of the Russian parliament, the State Duma, representing the Communist Party. Valentina Tereshkova is an incredible woman who has made history both as an astronaut and as a politician. She is an inspiration to women all over the world and proof that anyone can achieve their dreams if they set their mind to it.
Valentina Tereshkova was born on 6 March 1937 in the village of Maslennikovo in Tutayevsky District, Yaroslavl Oblast, in central Russia. Her parents had moved there in the 1930s as part of Joseph Stalin’s policy of forced collectivization. At the time of her birth, her father Vladimir Tegrin was working as a tractor driver and her mother, Maria Lipatova, was a milkmaid. Vladimir died in 1945 during World War II when a Nazi bomb hit his truck.
After her father Vladimir died in a hunting accident in 1938, her mother Helena became a single parent to Valentina and her two older brothers Boris and Viktor. Helena worked as a tractor driver to support her family, instilling in Valentina a lifelong love for farming and the countryside. As a child, Tereshkova was fascinated by everything she saw related to space and aviation and dreamed of becoming a cosmonaut.
After the war, Valentina’s mother moved to Yaroslavl with her children to find work. Valentina worked various odd jobs before being employed at a textile factory in 1949. She later joined the Komsomol, or Young Communist League, and became active in promoting communist youth activities. it was through the Komsomol that she first heard about the possibility of becoming a cosmonaut.
On Valentine’s day 1963 Valentina Tereshkova became the first woman in space aboard the Vostok 6 mission, spending almost 3 days in orbit and completing 48 orbits of Earth. Upon her return, she was hailed as a national hero and awarded the Order of Lenin and the Gold Star Medal. Her call sign on this historic flight was Chaika, or “seagull”.
In 1962, Tereshkova was selected to join the Soviet space program as part of a team of female cosmonauts known as the “Soyuz Sisters”. On 16 June 1963, she became the first woman to fly in space aboard the Vostok 6 mission. Her historic flight lasted almost three days and she orbited the Earth 48 times. Following her return to Earth, she was awarded the Order of Lenin and named a Hero of the Soviet Union – the highest honor bestowed upon a citizen of the USSR.
Tereshkova remained active in the Soviet space program and served as deputy chairwoman of the Soviet Cosmonaut Training Center from 1974 to 1982. She also worked as a technical inspector for the Buran space shuttle program. In addition to her work in the space industry, Tereshkova has also been active in politics. She was elected to the Soviet parliament, the Supreme Soviet of the USSR, in 1974 and served two terms until she retired in 1991. She has also served as a United Nations goodwill ambassador and is currently a member of the Russian Academy of Sciences. Valentina Tereshkova is an amazing woman who has accomplished so much in her life. She is an inspiration to women all over the world and a reminder that anything is possible if you set your mind to it. Thank you, Valentina, for everything you have done.
Valentina Tereshkova is a true pioneer in the field of space exploration. Her historic flight aboard the Vostok 6 mission made her the first woman to fly in space and earned her the title of Hero of the Soviet Union. Throughout her career, she has remained an active advocate for the advancement of women in STEM fields and has served as an inspiration to female astronauts and engineers around the world.