Updated: Dec 28, 2020
Valentina Vladimirovna Tereshkova was born in Maslennikovo on March 6th, 1937. Her parents were working on a collective farm, and during the Second World War her father was killed. When she was 16, Valentina left school and worked in a textile factory, but continued her education through correspondence courses
Valentina was involved in parachute jumping from an early age. It was her expertise in parachute jumping that contributed to her recruitment as a cosmonaut. At that time, the cosmonauts had to parachute out of their spacecraft a few seconds before they reached the ground on their way back to Earth.
Together with four other women, Tereshkova underwent 18 months of preparation, which included exercises to assess how she would respond to long stretches of time alone to intense levels of gravity and to zero-gravity conditions. Of the five women, only Tereshkov went into orbit.
"Anyone who has spent any time in space will love it for the rest of their lives. I achieved my childhood dream of the sky."- Valentina Tereshkov
Tereshkov was selected to pilot Vostok 6, June 16, 1963. Tereshkov logged more than 70 hours in space and made 48 orbits of Earth.TV audiences saw her laughing face and her logbook floating in front of her, They did not understand that the flight had nearly turned into a disaster, a fact that we came to know about 40 years on.
A mistake in the automatic navigation program of the spacecraft caused the ship to travel away from Earth. Tereshkov observed this and Soviet scientists rapidly created a new landing algorithm. Tereshkova landed successfully, but she had a bruise on her head. She landed near today's Kazakhstan-Mongolia-China border in the Altay region.
Tereshkova, however was honoured with the Hero of the Soviet Union title. The Order of Lenin and the Gold Star Medal were presented to her. She became a Soviet Union spokeswoman and earned the United Nations Gold Medal of Peace while performing this role.
Moscow hosted the International Women's Congress on 24 June, only about a week after her arrival from space, where Tereshkova and Bykovsky were welcomed by a crowd of around 2,000 women from 119 nations.
She went on to get married twice and had a daughter Elena Andrianovna Nikolaeva-Tereshkova, the first person with both a mother and father who had traveled into space.She also actively participates in politics to this day and now is a well-known figure.