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Valentina Tereshkova

Astronaut
Date Of Birth:
6 March 1937
Place Of Birth:
Maslennikovo, Russia
Best Known As:
The first woman in space
Soviet cosmonaut Valentina Tereshkova was the first woman in outer space, launched into space aboard the Vostok 6 on 16 June 1963. Tereshkova was only 24 when she volunteered for the space program. After about 18 months in the program, with just one month training in the space craft, she spent three days aloft before returning safely to earth. She piloted the craft manually and parachuted back to ground. 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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