Monday, August 24, 2015

Cosmonaut Folk Heroine

Soviet Space Folk Heroine 

Cosmonaut folk heroine Valentina Tereshkova was the first woman in space. She flew the spacecraft Soviet Vostok 6 on June 16, 1963. During her 3 days stay in the space she orbited the earth 48 times. Following that she spent a great deal of time and effort on promoting Soviet science and eventually earned her place as one of the Soviet's folk heroines.

 Born in 1937 in Maslennikova village, north east of Moscow she left school at 16 and worked in a mill where her mother worked. She soon joined the Communist Party and the Yaroslavl Air Sports Club. Her interest in parachuting helped to get selected for the program. She was among five women who underwent training for 18 months and was one of two selected to go into space.

Two days after cosmonaut Valeriy Bykovsky flew Vostok 5 Tereshkova launched Soviet Vostok 6. The spacecrafts moved in different orbits and kept in constant communication with one another.

Technical errors almost led to Tereshkova’s flight being a tragedy. The space ship was taken away from the earth as a result of a technical error in its navigation software. She noticed the error and worked with Soviet scientists to develop a new landing algorithm for the ship that resulted in a safe landing near Kazakhstan.

She was considered to be a Hero of the Soviet Union and was also awarded the Order of Lenin as well as the Gold Star Medal. Later she served as the spokesperson of Soviet Union. She also served as a test pilot and instructor. 

In the early 1980’s she was made a deputy to Supreme Soviet and then became People’s Deputy. She also served as member of Supreme Soviet Presidium and as head of Soviet Women’s Committee.  Her credits also included being head of the International Cultural and Friendship Union and later chairperson of Russian of International Cooperation. Further civic duties included serving as a member of the Russian Parliament and chairperson of Parliamentary Committee on International Affairs.

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