First Woman in Space - Valentina Tereshkova Turns 80 in 2017

We'll try to do it

"We'll try to do it" – these words can be referred to Valentina Tereshkova's entire life experience. She is always like this – she says something and she does it. She was always calm and even-tempered in both words and deeds. Even when she tells you about the incident in space in 1963 – it sounds like nothing serious happened there, though she could've never returned back home from that flight.

Valentina in spacesuit
Nevertheless, no one who has ever been orbiting the Earth will ever be able to forget this experience. Only the very few are entitled to conquer the vastness of the Universe. Valentina Tereshkova is included in this club of the chosen ones forever.

Valya (which is a short form for a Russian female name Valentina) had flown into space only once to become a legend once and for all. She regretted badly that she never had another chance to fly to the stars. Valya and Yuri Gagarin were told to stay on Earth.

In the history of space exploration, Valentina Tereshkova will always stay not only the first, but also the only woman who had performed the individual flight into space. Indeed, all other female astronauts and cosmonauts, for whom she had uncovered the stars, flew there as crew members.

Path to the first woman cosmonaut

Yaroslavl is her hometown. She began to work there at the factory as a weaving machine operator.
As a young girl, besides working, Valya Tereshkova studied at a technical school. She also liked jumping with a parachute. She had carried out 90 parachute jumps in Yaroslavl Aeroclub. They performed land and water jumps in Volga River.

In 1962, this hobby of hers had brought her to Cosmonaut Training Centre. Five applicants, including Valentina, had been chosen out of hundreds of others to join the first female cosmonaut corps.

The training course took more than a year. Daily drillings on the brink of the human capacities. Tereshkova was in a centrifuge where overloads were extreme. The mass of the body increased twelvefold. Tereshkova was in an isolation chamber where she spent ten days in silence, completely isolated.

During that time, she read Nekrasov and told about Volga River. She read both Pushkin and her favorite author - Lermontov.

Chaika - Triumph of the Soviet Cosmonautics

June 16, 1963 is the day of triumph for the Soviet cosmonautics. For the first time ever a woman, Valentina Tereshkova with a call sign "Chaika" (which is translated from Russian as Seagull), had flown into space. Later on, the newspapers would cover this flight as the flight under normal conditions. Only tens of years later, Tereshkova would admit that a deviation had taken place. It nearly cost Valentina her life.

It happened when the spacecraft had been deployed in orbit, and she noticed that she would not be able to return on Earth, because the spacecraft was not oriented for the orbit ejection, but vice versa – for the orbit raising. She reported to the Earth team, received the necessary coordinates and made corrections. Then everything went normally.

"Chaika" spent almost three days and nights orbiting Earth 48 times. On her return back to Earth, Valentina Tereshkova went to her hometown Yaroslavl and, of course, visited the factory first. The slogan – "Well done, Valya!" – was made before her visit in June of 1963. The city had been celebrating this event for three days.

Not only the city - the entire world applauded her. People wrote letters to her, dedicated poems and songs. The Poles presented one song to her – "Valentina-twist" sung by Edita Piekha.

Valentina didn't belong to herself anymore

After this flight Valentina didn't belong to herself anymore. She always did her best to use her popularity to help other people. Nowadays, Valentina Tereshkova is the deputy of the State Duma (The State Duma is an equivalent of the parliament of the Russian Federation). For all the rest of people, she is Major General and the legend of cosmonautics possessing a colossal willpower. Tereshkova is a Hero of the Soviet Union - this title was the highest distinction in the USSR. However, in the family circle she is a completely different Valya.
Valetina Tereshkova, year 2017

In person, she is very comfortable, inviting and homelike. She is mother with a capital letter "M". She is also a grandmother. She does not like using the word "grandmother", though she has two grandsons whom she loves very much.