Thursday, March 28, 2013

Women's History Month - Valentina Tereshkova

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Valentina Vladimirovna Tereshkova was the first civilian woman to go into space. She became interested in parachute jumping at an early age and it was her expertise in parachute jumping that led to her selection as a cosmonaut.

Tereshkova was a textile-factory assembly worker and an amateur parachutist when she was recruited into the cosmonaut program. Under the direction Nikita Khrushchev, four women were selected to be trained for a special woman-in-space program.

She was the only one to complete a space mission from her group.

Tereshkova was launched aboard Vostok 6 on June 16, 1963 and became the first woman to fly in space. During the 70.8 hour flight, Vostok 6 made 48 orbits of Earth. Tereshkova was honored with the title Hero of the Soviet Union.

Although she never flew again, Tereshkova did become a spokesperson for the Soviet Union, and received the United Nations Gold Medal of Peace. She served as the president of the Soviet Women's Committee and became a member of the Supreme Soviet, the USSR's national parliament, and the Presidium, a special panel within the Soviet government.

It’s a pretty well documented fact that girls don’t enter STEM fields at the rates that guys do, for various reasons. Which is shame, because literally, there is a universe waiting for adventure.


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