Valentina Tereshkova

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Valentina Tereshkova (born 6 March 1937) is a member of the Russian State Duma, engineer, and the first and only woman to have been on a solo space mission (16 June 1963).

Hey sky, take off your hat, I'm on my way!
One cannot deny the great role women have played in the world community. My flight was yet another impetus to continue this female contribution.
People shouldn’t waste money on wars...


  • We believed each of us was worthy of being chosen... There is a bond, a comradeship, that never goes away. (about the five women who competed for the 1963 space mission)... Americans, Asians, everyone who has seen it (the view of the Earth from space) says the same thing, how unbelievably beautiful the Earth is and how very important it is to look after it. Our planet suffers from human activity, from fires, from war; we have to preserve it... When you are up there, you are homesick for Earth as your cradle. When you get back, you just want to get down and hug it... People shouldn’t waste money on wars...
  • I think it’s tremendously important to meet people, to establish a connection and tell people about space... It can increase trust, and that is something that is so badly needed, today... An awful lot depends on leaders... Putin took over a country that was on the brink of disintegration; he rebuilt it, and gave us hope again. People trust him... You only have to see how he is received, how people respond to him. He’s a splendid person.
  • I propose either to remove the restrictions on the presidential term, or to write in one of the articles of the bill the provision that after the updated Constitution enters into force, the incumbent president, like any other citizen, has the right to be elected to the post of head of state...Why build artificial structures, everything must be provided for honestly and openly... We either need to remove the restrictions on the number of presidential terms in the Constitution, or (if the situation demands it, and most importantly, if people want it) to lay down in the law the option for the incumbent president to be re-elected already in accordance with the updated Constitution (...) I was asked [to make this proposal] not by political circles, but by ordinary people.


  • The story of the peasant’s daughter who became a household name thanks to communism’s achievements made her a role model for young Soviet women. Her photograph smiling from a space suit became an icon. President Vladimir Putin, who invited Tereshkova to his residence near Moscow to mark her birthday, said her flight remained an inspiration for the resurgent Russia of today. “Your flight was, and will remain, a matter of pride for the Soviet people, for the Russian people,” he told Tereshkova who sported the gold star of the Hero of the Soviet Union on her black suit. Tereshkova all but disappeared from public life after the Soviet Union collapsed and now heads an obscure international cooperation association under the auspices of the foreign ministry and takes part in private projects helping orphans. “I want you to know I will serve the country to the end,” she told Putin.
  • While in space, Ms Tereshkova spoke directly with Khrushchev, reporting that "all systems are working perfectly" and that she felt "excellent". He replied: "Valentina, I am very happy and proud that a girl from the Soviet Union is the first woman to fly into space and to operate such cutting-edge equipment". Ms Tereshkova became the first woman to go into space on 16 June 1963. She completed 48 orbits of the Earth in a trip that lasted almost three days. Her call signal was "Seagull", and she shouted this joyful message as her Vostok-6 Spacecraft blasted off: "Hey sky, take off your hat, I'm on my way!" It was at the height of the space race between the US and the Soviet Union.
  • Tereshkova logged more than 70 hours in space and made 48 orbits of Earth. Soviet and European TV viewers saw her smiling face and her logbook floating in front of her. They did not realize that the flight almost turned into tragedy, a fact that was classified for about 40 years... An error in the spacecraft's automatic navigation software caused the ship to move away from Earth... Tereshkova noticed this and Soviet scientists quickly developed a new landing algorithm. Tereshkova landed safely but received a bruise on her face. She landed in the Altay region near today's Kazakhstan-Mongolia-China border. Villagers helped Tereshkova out of her spacesuit and asked her to join them for dinner. She accepted, and was later reprimanded for violating the rules and not undergoing medical tests first... However, Tereshkova was honored with the title Hero of the Soviet Union... received the Order of Lenin and the Gold Star Medal... became a spokesperson for the Soviet Union and while fulfilling this role, she received the United Nations Gold Medal of Peace.
  • Many of the women on the squad described Valentina Tereshkova as a good friend. “She always advocated for our interests in front of the bosses. For example, in the beginning of the program we lived as if we were behind the barbed wire. We lived near Moscow but only Muscovites were allowed to leave the training camp to see their families,” Zhanna Yorkina recalled. “Me and Tereshkova got bored and asked for permission to go to Moscow. ‘What for? What do you want to buy?’ they said. Once, Valentina Tereshkova lost control and blurted out the following: ‘Knickers! That’s what we want to buy!’ This is how we got permission.”
    • The First Group of Female Cosmonauts Were Trained to Conquer the Final Frontier, By Uliana Malashenko, (12 April 2019)
  • As launch day drew closer, some of the women suspected they would not be chosen. Valentina Tereshkova was garnering a lot of attention, and it was soon officially confirmed that she would fly... someone more extroverted was needed, since they would be dealing with worldwide publicity following the flight... a working-class woman would be a better representation of Soviet ideals than one from a white-collar family.
    • The First Group of Female Cosmonauts Were Trained to Conquer the Final Frontier, By Uliana Malashenko, (12 April 2019)
  • On 16th June 1963, Soviet Cosmonaut Valentina Tereshkova broke boundaries and set multiple records which, to this day, have not been broken...At the time of her birth both parents worked on farmland. Her father, Vladimir Tereshkov, was a tractor driver. He was killed during the first six months of WWII, before Valentina had reached her third birthday...Valentina left school aged 16 and began her first job in a tyre factory. Soon after she moved her focus and worked at a textile mill. During this time she continued her education via correspondence courses with Moscow’s Light Industry Technical School. She graduated in 1960. Even with such a demanding schedule, she still managed to indulge in her fascination with skydiving. Her dedication to this pass time was so intense that, after completing her first jump aged just 22, she became competitive in the sport. She managed to keep this hobby a secret from her family during her early days in this arena.
  • Tereshkova was the first woman in space. She completed 48 orbits of the Earth, she spent 2 days 22 hrs 50 mins in space during her first and only orbital mission, she is – to date – the only woman to fly solo beyond our atmosphere and she is still the youngest woman ever to enter space, aged just 26 years.