The whole world celebrates Cosmonautics Day on April 12, but a few know what a significant date June 16 is for the history of space exploration. On June 16, 1963, the first woman-cosmonaut Valentina Tereshkova performed her spaceflight onboard Vostok-6 spacecraft.
Valentina Tereshkova was born in Yaroslavl region on March 6, 1937. In 1954 at the age of 17 after graduating from secondary school she started working at the plant to support her family in hard after-war period. At the same time she was attending evening classes at working youth school. Then Valentina entered technical school. At that time she was also attending local aeroclub and performed 163 parachute jumps and showed very good results.
On March 12, 1962, she was enlisted to the first women-cosmonaut corps and started training.
“The trainings of women-cosmonauts’ group were even more difficult and severe than those of men-cosmonauts”, – remembers Valentina Tereshkova but “everyone of us was willing to pass all the tests and trainings by all means and go to space”.
On June 14, 1963, Vostok-5 spacecraft with Valery Bykovsky onboard was launched from Baikonur spaceport, Vostok-6 piloted by Valentina Tereshkova two days later.
Her flight lasted two days 22 hours and 50 minutes and was a real challenge but Chaika (her call sign in the flight) coped with the tasks and became a legend, the first woman in human history who conquered the space.