The Vostok 6 capsule in a museum display (2016)
|Operator||Soviet space program|
|Mission duration||2 days, 22 hours, 50 minutes|
|Manufacturer||Experimental Design Bureau OKB-1|
|Launch mass||4,713 kilograms (10,390 lb)|
|Callsign||Чайка (Chayka - "Seagull")|
|Start of mission|
|Launch date||16 June 1963, 09:29:52UTC|
|Launch site||Baikonur 1/5|
|End of mission|
|Landing date||19 June 1963, 08:20UTC|
|Perigee||164 kilometres (102 mi)|
|Apogee||212 kilometres (132 mi)|
|Epoch||16 June 1963, 05:36:00 UTC|
Valentina Tereshkova, first female cosmonaut, Hero of the Soviet Union, 1969.
The spacecraft was launched on June 16, 1963. While Vostok 5 had been delayed by technical problems, Vostok 6's launch proceeded with no difficulties. Data collected during the mission provided better understanding of the female body's reaction to spaceflight. Like other cosmonauts on Vostok missions, Tereshkova maintained a flight log, took photographs, and manually oriented the spacecraft. Her photographs of the horizon from space were later used to identify aerosol layers within the atmosphere. The mission, a joint flight with Vostok 5, was originally conceived as being a joint mission with two Vostoks each carrying a female cosmonaut, but this changed as the Vostok program experienced cutbacks as a precursor to the retooling of the program into the Voskhod program. Vostok 6 was the last flight of a Vostok 3KA spacecraft.
The Soviet state television network broadcast live video of Tereshkova from a camera inside the capsule, and she conversed with Premier Nikita Khrushchev over the radio. Communications with ground controllers about her overall health were described in post-flight reports as "evasive", and later official accounts of the mission had somewhat condescending remarks about Tereshkova's overall in-flight performance.
In Tereshkova's account of the mission in her postflight debriefing, she mentioned having assorted body pains and difficulty with her helmet headset (also reported by Bykovsky on Vostok 5). She vomited while attempting to eat, although she attributed this to the taste of the food rather than her physical condition. Another problem was that while the Soviet space agency had provided her with food, water and tooth paste, they had forgotten to pack a toothbrush.
An official history of the Soviet space program published in 1973 described Tereshkova's physical condition and in-flight performance as "udovletvoritelnoe" (adequate) rather than "otlichno" (good or outstanding).
It was revealed in 2004 that an error in the control program made the spaceship ascend from orbit instead of descending. Tereshkova noticed the fault on the first day of the flight and reported it to spaceship designer Sergey Korolev. Flight controllers then provided Tereshkova with data to enter into the descent program. By request of Korolev, Tereshkova kept the problem secret. "I kept silent, but Evgeny Vasilievich decided to make it public. So, I can easily talk about it now."
The Vostok 6 landing site coordinates are Barnaul, Altai, in the Russian Federation and 7 km south of Baevo, and 650 km North East of Karagandy, Kazakhstan. At the site, in a small park at the roadside, is a statue of Tereshkova, with arms outstretched, at the top of a curved column., 200 km West of
The capsule is now on display at the RKK Energia Museum in Korolyov (near Moscow). From September 2015 it formed part of the content of the "Cosmonauts" exhibition at the Science Museum, London. The Exhibition featured many iconic objects from the Soviet space program.
This was the final Vostok flight.
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