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Today In History: June 16th 1963, Valentina Tereshkova Becomes The First Woman in Space

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Victoria Maduabuchi

On June 16, 1963 Valentina, approximately 55years ago, Tereshkova became the first woman to go into space.

She spent almost three days in space and orbited Earth 48 times in her space capsule, Vostok 6.

That was her only trip into space. Having spent more time in space than all U.S. astronauts combined to that date, Tereshkova later toured the world to promote Soviet science and became involved in Soviet politics, afters she returned to earth.

Valentina Vladimirovna Tereshkova was born to a beautiful family in Maslennikovo, Russia, in 1937. She began work at a textile factory when she was 18, and at age 22 she made her first parachute jump under the auspices of a local aviation club.

Her enthusiasm for skydiving brought her to the attention of the Soviet space program, which sought to put a woman in space in the early 1960s as a means of achieving another “space first” before the United States.

As an accomplished parachutist, Tereshkova was well equipped to handle one of the most challenging procedures of a Vostok space flight: the mandatory ejection from the capsule at about 20,000 feet during reentry.

In February 1962, she was selected along with three other woman parachutists and a female pilot to begin intensive training to become a cosmonaut.

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