Valentina Vladimirovna Tereshkova (Russian: Валенти́на Влади́мировна Терешко́ва, IPA: [vɐlʲɪnʲˈtʲinə vlɐˈdʲimʲɪrəvnə tʲɪrʲɪʂˈkovə] (listen); born 6 March 1937) is a retired cosmonaut, engineer, and a member of the Russian State Duma. She is the first and youngest woman to have flown in space with a solo mission on the Vostok 6 on 16 June 1963. Tereshkova also became the first civilian to fly in space as she was only honorarily inducted into the Soviet Air Force in order to join the Cosmonaut Corps.
Valentina in March 2017
|Other names||Valentina Nikolayeva Tereshkova|
|Awards||Hero of the Soviet Union|
Order "For Merit to the Fatherland"
Order of Lenin (2)
Order of the October Revolution
Order of Alexander Nevsky
Order of Honour
Order of Friendship
|Rank||Major general, Soviet Air Force|
Time in space
|2 days, 22 hrs, and 50 mins|
Before her recruitment as a cosmonaut, Tereshkova was a textile-factory assembly worker and an amateur skydiver. After the dissolution of the first group of female cosmonauts in 1969, she became a prominent member of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, holding various political offices. She remained politically active following the collapse of the Soviet Union. Having orbited Earth 48 times, Tereshkova remains the only woman to have been on a solo space mission.
Valentina Tereshkova was born on 6 March 1937 in the Bolshoye Maslennikovo, a village on the Volga River 270 kilometres (170 mi) northeast of Moscow and part of the Yaroslavl Oblast in central Russia. Her parents had migrated from Belarus. Her father, Vladimir Tereshkov, was a former tractor driver and a sergeant in command of a tank in the Soviet Army. He died in the Finnish Winter War during World War II when Tereshkova was two years old. Tereshkova's parents had three children and, after her father's death, her mother moved the family to Yaroslavl, seeking better employment opportunity, and became employed at the Krasny Perekop cotton mill.
Tereshkova was first enrolled in school at age 10 and graduated at 17. She began working at a tire factory and later at a textile mill but continued her education by correspondence courses to graduate from the Light Industry Technical School in 1960. Tereshkova also became interested in parachuting from a young age, and trained in skydiving at the local Aeroclub, making her first jump at age 22 on 21 May 1959. While still employed as textile worker, she trained as a competitive parachutist, which she kept a secret from her family. Tereshkova also joined the local Komsomol (Communist Youth League) in Yaroslavl, serving as the secretary of the organisation in 1960 and 1961. She became a member of the Communist Party in 1962.
Soviet space programEdit
Selection and trainingEdit
Tereshkova's experience in skydiving would contributed to her selection as a cosmonaut. After the flight of Yuri Gagarin in 1961, Sergey Korolyov, the chief Soviet rocket engineer, envisioned the idea of putting a woman in space. The latest qualifications for the space program included being a parachutists under 30 years of age, less than 170 cm (5 ft 7 in) in height, and no more than 70 kg (154 lb) in weight. On 16 February 1962, Valentina Tereshkova was selected to join the female cosmonaut corps. Out of more than 400 applicants, five were selected: Tatyana Kuznetsova, Irina Solovyova, Zhanna Yorkina, Valentina Ponomaryova, and Tereshkova, who was considered a particularly worthy candidate partly due to her "proletarian" background and because her father was a war hero.
Training included weightless flights, isolation tests, centrifuge tests, rocket theory, spacecraft engineering, 120 parachute jumps, and pilot training in MiG-15UTI jet fighters. Tereshkova studied at the Zhukovsky Air Force Engineering Academy and graduated with distinction as a cosmonaut engineer. The group spent several months in intensive training concluding with examinations in November 1962, after which four remaining candidates were commissioned Junior Lieutenants in the Soviet Air Force. Tereshkova, Solovyova, and Ponomaryova were the leading candidates, and a joint mission profile was developed that would see two women launched into space, on solo Vostok flights on consecutive days in March or April 1963.
Originally it was intended that Tereshkova would launch first in Vostok 5 while Ponomaryova would follow her into orbit in Vostok 6. However, this flight plan was altered in March 1963. Vostok 5 would now carry a male cosmonaut Valery Bykovsky flying the joint mission, with a solo woman aboard Vostok 6 in June 1963. The State Space Commission nominated Tereshkova to pilot Vostok 6 at their meeting on 21 May and this was confirmed by Nikita Khrushchev.
After the successful launch of Vostok 5 on 14 June, Tereshkova began final preparations for her own flight. On the morning of 16 June 1963, Tereshkova and her backup Solovyova were both dressed in spacesuits and taken to the launch pad by bus. Following the tradition set by Gagarin, Tereshkova also urinated on the bus tire, becoming the first woman to do so. After completing her communication and life support checks, she was sealed inside the Vostok. After a two-hour countdown, Vostok 6 launched faultlessly, and Tereshkova became the first woman in space; she remains to be the only woman to fly to space solo and the youngest at 26 years old.[a] Her call sign in this flight was Chaika (Russian: Ча́йка, lit. 'Seagull'), later commemorated as the name of an asteroid, 1671 Chaika.
Although Tereshkova experienced nausea and physical discomfort for much of the flight, she orbited the earth 48 times and spent almost three days in space. With a single flight, she logged more flight time than the combined times of all American astronauts who had flown before that date. Tereshkova also maintained a flight log and took photographs of the horizon, which were later used to identify aerosol layers within the atmosphere.
Vostok 6 was the final Vostok flight and was launched two days after Vostok 5 which carried Valery Bykovsky into a similar orbit for five days, landing three hours after Tereshkova. The two vessels spent three days in adjacent orbits and, at one point, approached each other to within 5 km (3.1 mi). Tereshkova was able to communicate with Bykovsky via radio. As planned in all Vostok missions, she ejected from the capsule during its descent at about four miles above the Earth and landed by parachute.
After her mission, she was asked how the Soviet Union should thank her for her service to the country; Tereshkova asked that the government search for and publish the location of where her father was killed in action. This was done, and a monument was erected at the site in the Lemetti, Karelia—now on the Russian side of the border. Tereshkova has since visited Finland several times. Even though there were plans for further flights by women, it took 19 years until the second woman, Svetlana Savitskaya, flew into space. None of the other four in Tereshkova's early group flew, and in October 1969, the pioneering female cosmonaut group was dissolved.
In September 1963, Tereshkova donated a silver cup at the women's 1963 European Rowing Championships held in Khimki near Moscow for the most successful nation, which went to the team from the Soviet Union as they won gold in all five boat classes.
Due to her prominence, Tereshkova was chosen for several political positions: from 1966 to 1974 a member of the Supreme Soviet of the Soviet Union, from 1974 to 1989 a member of the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet, and from 1969 to 1991 a member of the Central Committee of the Communist Party. In 1997, she retired from the Russian Air Force and the cosmonaut corps by presidential order. She was a major general in the air force.
Beyond her recognised political offices within the Soviet Union, Tereshkova also became a well-known representative of the Soviet Union abroad. She became a member of the World Peace Council in 1966 and a member of the Yaroslavl Soviet in 1967. She was also the Soviet representative to the UN Conference for the International Women's Year in Mexico City in 1975. She also led the Soviet delegation to the World Conference on Women in Copenhagen and played a critical role in shaping the socialist women's global agenda for peace. She attained the rank of deputy to the Supreme Soviet, membership of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union Central Committee, Vice-President of the International Woman’s Democratic Federation and President of the Soviet-Algerian Friendship Society.
After the collapse of the Soviet Union, Tereshkova lost her political office but none of her prestige. She is still revered as a hero, and to some her importance in Russian space history is only surpassed by Yuri Gagarin and Alexei Leonov. She was elected to the State Duma, the lower house of the Russian legislature, in 2011 as a member of United Russia where she continues to serve.
Tereshkova was invited to Prime Minister Vladimir Putin's residence in Novo-Ogaryovo for the celebration of her 70th birthday. While there she said that she would like to fly to Mars, even if it meant that it was a one-way trip.
On 4 December 2011, Tereshkova was elected to the Russian State Duma representing the Yaroslavl Oblast, as a member of the United Russia party. In the 6th State Duma, together with Yelena Mizulina, Irina Yarovaya and Andrey Skoch, she was a member of the inter-factional committee for the protection of Christian values. In this capacity, she supported the introduction of amendments to the preamble of Constitution of Russia, to add that "Orthodoxy is the basis of Russia's national and cultural identity".
Tereshkova married cosmonaut Andriyan Nikolayev on 3 November 1963 at the Moscow Wedding Palace with Khrushchev presiding at the wedding party together with top government and space programme leaders. The marriage was encouraged by the Soviet space authorities as a "fairy-tale message to the country". General Nikolai Kamanin, head of the space program, described it as "probably useful for politics and science". On 8 June 1964, nearly one year after her space flight, she gave birth to their daughter Elena Andrianovna Nikolaeva-Tereshkova, the first person with both a mother and father who had travelled into space.
She and Nikolayev divorced in 1982 and Tereshkova married Yuli Shaposhnikov, a surgeon. They remained married until his death in 1999.
Awards and honoursEdit
She was decorated with the Hero of the Soviet Union medal, the USSR's highest award. She was also awarded the Order of Lenin, Order of the October Revolution, numerous other medals, and foreign orders including the Karl Marx Order, United Nations Gold Medal of Peace, and the Simba International Women’s Movement Award. She was also bestowed the titles of the Hero of Socialist Labor in Czechoslovakia, Hero of Labor in Vietnam, and Hero of the Mongolian People's Republic.
- Merited Master of Sports of the Soviet Union (June 1963)
- Hero of the Soviet Union (1963)
- Order of Lenin (1963, 1981 – for making progress on the development and strengthening of ties with the progressive community and peace-loving forces of foreign countries
- Order of the October Revolution (1971)
- Order of the Red Banner of Labour (1987) – for social activities
- Order of the Friendship of Peoples
- Pilot-Cosmonaut of the Soviet Union (1963)
Other Warsaw Pact awardsEdit
- Gold star Hero of Socialist Labour (Czechoslovakia) (August 1963)
- Gold star Hero of Socialist Labour (Bulgaria) (Bulgaria, 9 September 1963)
- Order of Georgi Dimitrov (Bulgaria, 9 September 1963)
- Order of Karl Marx (October 1963, East Germany)
- Artur Becker Medal (October 1963, East Germany)
- Cross of Grunwald, 1st class (October 1963, Poland)
- Order of the National Flag with diamonds (Hungary, April 1965)
- Order "For Achievements in Science" (Romania, 17 November 1973)
- Medal "For Strengthening Brotherhood in Arms" (Bulgaria, 1976)
- Order of Klement Gottwald (Czechoslovakia)
Other international awardsEdit
- Order of Tri Shakti Patta, 1st class (Nepal, November 1963)
- Star of the Republic of Indonesia, 2nd class (November 1963)
- Order of the Volta (Ghana, January 1964)
- "Gold Soyombo" Hero of Labour (Mongolia)
- Order of Sukhbaatar (Mongolia, May 1965)
- Order of the Enlightenment (Afghanistan, August 1969)
- Order of Planets (Jordan, December 1969)
- Order of the Nile (Egypt, January 1971)
- "Gold Star" Hero of Labour (Vietnam) (October 1971)
- Order of Bernardo O'Higgins (Chile, March 1972)
- Order of the Yugoslav Flag with sash (November 1972)
- Grand Cross of the Order of the Sun (Peru, 1974)
- Order of Playa Girón (Cuba, 1974)
- Order of Ana Betancourt (Cuba, 1974)
- Order of Duke Branimir, with sash (Croatia, 17 February 2003)
- She received the Eduard Rhein Ring of Honor from the German Eduard Rhein Foundation in 2007.
- Order of Merit for the Fatherland:
- Order of Alexander Nevsky (2013)
- Order of Honour (10 June 2003) – for outstanding contribution to the development and strengthening of international scientific, cultural and social ties
- Order of Friendship (2011) – for outstanding contribution to the development of national manned space flight and long-term fruitful public activity
- Russian Federation State Prize for outstanding achievements in the field of humanitarian action in 2008 (4 June 2009)
- Certificates of appreciation from the Government of the Russian Federation;
- 16 June 2008, – for long-term fruitful state and public activities, considerable personal contribution to the development of manned space flight and in connection with the 45th anniversary of spaceflight
- 12 June 2003, – for large contribution to the development of manned space flight
- 3 March 1997, – for the contribution to the development of space, the strengthening of international scientific and cultural ties and years of diligent work
- Gold Medal, Tsiolkovsky Academy of Sciences of the USSR
- Gold Medal of the British Society for interplanetary communications "For achievements in space exploration" (February 1964)
- Gold Space Medal (FAI, 1963)
- Award Galambera Astronautics
- Gold Medal of Peace Joliot-Curie (France, 1964)
- Order "Wind Rose" International Committee of the National Aeronautics and Space Missions
- "Golden mimosa" of the Italian Union of Women (1963)
- Sign of the Komsomol "For active in the League" (1963)
- Gold Medal Exhibition of Economic Achievements (28 June 1963)
- Honour of DOSAAF (1 July 1963)
- Order of St. Euphrosyne, Grand Duchess of Moscow, 2nd class (2008)
In 1967, Gregory Postnikov created a sculpture of Tereshkova for Cosmonaut Alley in Moscow. There is a monument in Bayevsky District of Altai Territory, Siberia, close to her landing place of 53°N, 80°E. In August 1970, Tereshkova was among first group of living people to have a lunar crater named after them. Tereshkova crater is located on the far side of the Moon.
A proposal was brought forward in 2015 to move a monument to Tereshkova in Lviv, Ukraine to the Territory of Terror Memorial Museum. Monuments of communist leaders are removed from the public and placed in the museum.
In 1997, London-based electronic pop group Komputer released a song entitled "Valentina" which gives a more-or-less direct account of her career as a cosmonaut. It was released as a single and appears on their album The World of Tomorrow. The 2000 album Vostok 6 by Kurt Swinghammer is a concept album about Tereshkova. The 2015 album The Race for Space by Public Service Broadcasting also has a song featuring the Smoke Fairies entitled "Valentina". In the same year, Findlay Napier's album VIP: Very Interesting Persons included a song "Valentina", written in her honour by Napier and Boo Hewerdine. In 2015, a short film entitled Valentina's Dream was released by Meat Bingo Productions. The film stars Rebecca Front as Tereshkova and is based on an interview by the former cosmonaut where she expressed a desire to journey to Mars.
The Cosmos Museum was opened 25 January 1975 near Yaroslavl. Among its exhibits is a replica of her childhood home. The city library was named after her in 2013. The school she attended as a child was renamed for her. A planetarium in Yaroslavl was built and named for her in 2011. The International Women of the Year association named her as the "greatest woman achiever of the 20th century". Tereshkova was a torchbearer of the 2008 Summer Olympics torch relay in Saint Petersburg and the 2014 Winter Olympics torch relay in Sochi.
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In 1963, Valentina Tereshkova became the first woman in space aboard Vostok 6. Selected from more than 400 applicants, Tereshkova was honorarily inducted into the Soviet Air Force, which also made her the first civilian to fly in outer space.
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- "Олимпийский огонь понесут Друзь, Фрейндлих и Плющенко". Komsomolskaya Pravda (in Russian). 16 October 2012. Archived from the original on 6 June 2013. Retrieved 4 March 2013.
- Sharp, Tim (22 January 2018). "Valentina Tereshkova: First Woman in Space". Space.com. Retrieved 11 June 2019.
- Bill O’Neil, "Whatever became of Valentina Tereshkova?" New Scientist 8/14/93, Vol. 139, Issue 1886p. 21.
- A. Lothian, Valentina: The First Woman in Space, The Pentland Press, 1993, ISBN 978-1858210643.
- Tamara Eidelman, "The First Woman in Space," Russian Life. May/Jun 2008, Vol. 51, Issue 3, p. 19-21.
- Tamara Eidelman, "The Extraordinary Destiny of an ‘Ordinary’ Woman," Russian Life. May/June 2003, Vol. 46, Issue 3, p.19.
- Daniel Gauthier, "Valentina Vladimirovna Tereshkova." Ad Astra. Jul/Aug 1991, Vol. 3, Issue 6, p. 29.
- Robert Griswold, ""Russian Blonde in Space": Soviet Women in the American Imagination, 1950–1965." Journal of Social History. Summer 2012, Vol. 45, Issue 4, p.881-907.
- Laira Woodmansee, "Two who dared," Ad Astra. Summer 2005, Vol. 17, Issue 2, p. 48-48.
- "First woman in space" at History.com
- Valentina Tereshkova, The First Lady of Space: In Her Own Words, spacebusiness.com, October 2015
- Sharpe, Mitchell R. (1975). "It is I, Sea gull;": Valentina Tereshkova, first woman in space. Crowell. ISBN 978-0-690-00646-9.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Valentina Tereshkova.|
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Commons:RIA Novosti/Tereshkova.|
- BBC: Tereshkova received the Greatest Woman of the Century Award
- RSC Energia Biography of Tereschkova including a comprehensive list of awards and honours.
- Astronautix biography of Tereshkova
- "Testing of rocket and space technology – the business of my life" Events and facts – A.I. Ostashev, Korolyov, 2001.;
- "Bank of the Universe" – edited by Boltenko A. C., Kiev, 2014., publishing house "Phoenix", ISBN 978-966-136-169-9
- A.I. Ostashev, Sergey Pavlovich Korolyov – The Genius of the 20th Century — 2010 M. of Public Educational Institution of Higher Professional Training MGUL ISBN 978-5-8135-0510-2.
- "S. P. Korolev. Encyclopedia of life and creativity" – edited by C. A. Lopota, RSC Energia. S. P. Korolev, 2014 ISBN 978-5-906674-04-3
- The official website of the city administration Baikonur – Honorary citizens of Baikonur