(te-ruhsh-koh`-vuh) is a Russian who became the first
woman to fly in space in 1963.
She was a textile worker and
amateur parachute jumper when she was selected to be in
the Soviet Union cosmonaut program in 1962. (Cosmonaut is
the Russian word for astronaut.) She was the first
cosmonaut who was not a test pilot. She was chosen mainly
because of her experience with parachute jumping. She had
made more than a hundred jumps.
After 18 months of training,
Tereshkova's Vostok 6 spacecraft launched. On June 16,
1963 she went into orbit and in about 80 hours (more than
three days) completed 48 orbits before returning to
Earth. She parachuted from her spacecraft as it fell to
Earth. That is how the Vostok spacecraft
With this flight, Valentina
Tereshkova became the first woman in space. There
wouldn't be another Russian woman in space until 1982.
The first American woman in space, Sally
Ride, made her first
flight in 1983.
In 1963 Tereshkova married a
cosmonaut named Adrian Nikolayev. In 1964 they had a
daughter. This event was of medical interest because
Valentina and Adrian had both been exposed to space.
Later on, the couple divorced. Tereshkova never flew in
space again. She served in the Soviet parliament for a