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[Discover] The Forgotten Female Cosmonaut Class
« dnia: Sierpień 31, 2018, 21:03 »
The Forgotten Female Cosmonaut Class
By Amy Shira Teitel | June 8, 2018

Valentina Tereshkova. NASA.

On June 16, 1963, Valeriy Bykovsky had been orbiting in Vostok 5 for a little under a day when he gained a companion: Valentina Tereshkova in Vostok 6. After more than a year of intensive training, she became, on that Sunday afternoon, the first woman in space.

Tereshkova’s story starts towards the end of 1961 with Sergei Korolev. Korolev was the Soviet space program’s Chief Designer and the mastermind behind the nation’s earliest space triumphs; he’s sometimes referred to as the Soviet equivalent to Wernher von Braun. He’d already orchestrated launching the first man into space, Yuri Gagarin, and in thinking of another first came up with the idea of launching a woman. He knew it would be a significant win for his nation, a way to send the message that the Soviet Union valued all citizens equally and give little girls hope that they too could go into space someday. The Central Committee of the Communist Party okayed Korolev’s idea and the search for the right woman began.

The first step was figuring out what skill set female cosmonauts would need. Officials looked at women in the military, acrobats, athletes who flew or sky-dived, and even parachute jumpers. On the practical side, candidates had to be small enough to fit into the cramped Vostok. As a point of reference, Yuri Gagarin, in spite of the towering statues built in his honour, was only five foot two. Al Shepard, by comparison, was five foot eleven.

Valentina Tereshkova and Neil Armstrong

Fifty-eight women’s files reached Nikolai Kamanin, the head of the cosmonaut training centre, midway through January 1962. He wasn’t horribly impressed by the candidates but also knew that the Vostok spacecraft was so automated that they didn’t need to be amazing pilots. Twenty-three women made the cut, eighteen of those passed the medical testing to begin training. Those 18 women were split into two groups of nine and subjected to extensive interviews and medical exams. Eleven made it through this round but only five, all experienced parachutists, were ultimately selected to train: Tatyana Kuznetsova, Valentina Ponomareva, Irina Solovyova, Valentina Tereshkova, and Zhanna Yorkina, though Kuznetsova dropped out early on.

When the remaining four women joined the cosmonaut training crew on February 16, 1962, they received a somewhat frosty reception from the men. Many felt that women had no business in space, they didn’t feel there was any inherent value in launching a woman. Some made the argument that the risk was too great for the fairer sex. 

But the women soon showed they were just as competent as the men. The trained and worked just as hard as their male counterparts, and were soon vying for the big prize: the spot as the pilot of Vostok 6. The mission would be a tandem flight with Vostok 6 reaching orbit after Vostok 5, the two spacecraft merely orbiting near each other before returning, separately to Earth.

Finally, in May of 1963, Kamanin gathered the female cosmonaut trainees and announced that Valentina Tereshkova would be the pilot of Vostok 6. She’s been selected as much on the strength of her qualifications as her background. A textile factory worker by trade, she’d been working to help support her family since she was 10. In spite of hardships she worked hard and ended up training and qualifying as a parachute jumper, and all the while she remained an outspoken proponent of the Communist system. She was, like Yuri Gagarin before her, the picture of success in the Soviet Union.

The other women were told they would fly eventually. At the time, the rough schedule for the end of the Vostok program included a 30-day animal flight on Vostok 7, and 8-day manned mission on Vostok 8, and a 10-day tandem mission for Vostoks 9 and 10. Any of these last three missions could be flown by a female pilot.

Tereshkova’s wedding to fellow cosmonaut Andriyan Nikolayev. Ria Novosti.

But the extended Vostoks never flew. Accounts vary but either Korolev or Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev wanted to fast-track a new program that could compete with America’s tw0-man Gemini spacecraft. The remaining Vostok missions were cancelled and attention shifted to turning it into the Voskhod that could hold multi-man crews and developing the all-new and far more capable Soyuz spacecraft.

Tereshkova’s flight was the last Vostok. She spent three days in space running biomedical experiments and gathering data on living and working in space. She returned to Earth after completing 48 orbits in about 70 hours.

Tereshkova has been lauded since her flight as a trailblazer for women in space – and indeed, she’s been an advocate of both women’s rights and space exploration in her post-cosmonaut career. But it’s worth remembering that she was launched as a political move, which is the same reason men launched into space when they did, too. For all the innovation of the 1960s, it was also the era of politically-charged decisions.

Sources: “The First Soviet Cosmonaut Team” by Colin Burgess and Rex Hall; “The Rocket Men” by Rex Hall and David Shayler. Also, an earlier version of this article appeared on Discovery News Space in about 2012, which no longer exists… sigh…

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Odp: [Discover] The Forgotten Female Cosmonaut Class
« Odpowiedź #1 dnia: Sierpień 31, 2018, 21:36 »
First woman in space Valentina
ESA 16 June 2013

Valentina Tereshkova

Valentina Tereshkova was born in Maslennikovo, near Yaroslavl, in Russia on 6 March 1937. Her father was a tractor driver and her mother worked in a textile factory. Interested in parachuting from a young age, Tereshkova began skydiving at a local flying club, making her first jump at the age of 22 in May 1959. At the time of her selection as a cosmonaut, she was working as a textile worker in a local factory.

After the first human spaceflight by Yuri Gagarin, the selection of female cosmonaut trainees was authorised by the Soviet government, with the aim of ensuring the first woman in space was a Soviet citizen.

On 16 February 1962, out of more than 400 applicants, five women were selected to join the cosmonaut corps: Tatyana Kuznetsova, Irina Solovyova, Zhanna Yorkina, Valentina Ponomaryova and Valentina Tereshkova. The group spent several months in training, which included weightless flights, isolation tests, centrifuge tests, 120 parachute jumps and pilot training in jet aircraft.

Four candidates passed the final examinations in November 1962, after which they were commissioned as lieutenants in the Soviet air force (meaning Tereshkova also became the first civilian to fly in space, since technically these were only honorary ranks).

Originally a joint mission was planned that would see two women launched on solo Vostok flights on consecutive days in March or April 1963. Tereshkova, Solovyova and Ponomaryova were the leading candidates. It was intended that Tereshkova would be launched first in Vostok 5, with Ponomaryova following her in Vostok 6.

However, this plan was changed in March 1963: Vostok 5 would carry a male cosmonaut, Valeri Bykovsky, flying the mission with a woman in Vostok 6 in June. The Russian space authorities nominated Tereshkova to make the joint flight.

Valentina Tereshkova

After watching the launch of Vostok 5 at Baikonur Cosmodrome on 14 June, Tereshkova completed preparations for her own flight. On the morning of 16 June, Tereshkova and her backup Solovyova both dressed in spacesuits and were taken to the launch pad by bus. After completing checks of communication and life support systems, she was sealed inside her spacecraft.

After a two-hour countdown, Vostok 6 lifted off without fault and, within hours, she was in communication with Bykovsky in Vostok 5, marking the second time that two manned spacecraft were in space at the same time. With the radio call sign ‘Chaika’ (‘seagull’), Tereshkova had become the first woman in space. She was 26.

Tereshkova’s televised image was broadcast throughout the Soviet Union and she spoke to Khrushchev by radio. She maintained a flight log and performed various tests to collect data on her body’s reaction to spaceflight. Her photographs of Earth and the horizon were later used to identify aerosol layers within the atmosphere.

Her mission lasted just under three days (two days, 23 hours, and 12 minutes). With a single flight, she had logged more flight time than the all the US Mercury astronauts who had flown to that date combined. Both Tereshkova and Bykovsky were record-holders. Bykovsky had spent nearly five days in orbit and even today he retains the record for having spent the longest period of time in space alone.

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Odp: [Discover] The Forgotten Female Cosmonaut Class
« Odpowiedź #2 dnia: Październik 05, 2019, 20:53 »
'The Common Touch': Selecting the First Woman Cosmonaut
By Ben Evans, on June 8th, 2013 [AS]

Right from the start, the training of Russia’s first female cosmonauts was as alien as the environment in which one of them would operate. Although all had flying or parachuting experience, the closeted military world of the cosmonaut team came as a huge cultural shock to them. Photo Credit: Roscosmos

Fifty years ago this month, the first woman flew into space. Since the launch of Sputnik, the Soviet Union and the United States were locked in a battle for technological supremacy, firstly in the arena of missile stocks and later in their ability to send humans into the heavens. In June 1963, America seemed firmly relegated to second place, with Russia having launched the world’s first satellite, its first lunar probe, its first man in space, and its first woman … and whereas NASA could barely keep its astronauts in orbit for a matter of hours, the cosmonauts were routinely spending several days in orbit. Of course, it is easy to look back on the Soviet achievements for what they were: a cynical ploy in the hands of Premier Nikita Khrushchev, conducted purely for political, military, and propaganda advantage. Yet the pace at which these spectaculars occurred—and the effect they had on the United States—provoked an unprecedented competition between the two superpowers, sparking a race which eventually produced human bootprints on the Moon. At few other periods in history has international competition paid such an enormous dividend in such a short span of time.

The West was not fooled, though. Whereas America was following a gradual programme with the long-term aim of a piloted landing on the lunar surface, it was clear that the Soviets were overwhelmingly focused upon scoring one disconnected space spectacular after another. At the end of 1961, Sergei Korolev—the “Chief Designer” whose genius enabled many of these missions—suggested sending a woman into space, and the Central Committee of the Communist Party approved the selection of five female candidates. In March of the following year, after lengthy evaluations, the women arrived at a male-dominated training facility, just outside Moscow, to begin preparations. Tatiana Kuznetsova, Valentina Ponomaryova, Irina Solovyeva, Valentina Tereshkova, and Zhana Yerkina were put through the same rigorous training as the men … and their fundamental advantage was that the United States had little interest in selecting its own female astronauts. It was the perfect coup for a socialist state obsessed with promulgating the false ideology that its women were equal to its men.

The Vostok spacecraft could not bring its cosmonaut directly to the ground; instead, they were required to eject at altitude and descend beneath their own parachute. As a result, all five women possessed at least rudimentary flying or parachuting skills and were chosen from aviation clubs across European Russia. The cosmonauts’ town of Zvezdny Gorodok (“Star City”) did not yet exist, and the women trained instead in a jumble of office buildings. All five were enrolled as privates in the Soviet Air Force and, thrust into a strict military unit, few of them understood the requirements of service regulations. “Military discipline,” recalled Ponomaryova, “was an alien and difficult concept.” Intensive instruction in rocket systems, navigation, and astronomy was juxtaposed with punishing runs in the centrifuge, daily physical and vestibular training, and flights in the two-seater MiG-15. Demonstrative of the “newness” of the human space experience, the women were obliged to repeat phrases, write sentences, draw shapes, and eat food from toothpaste tubes.

By the end of 1962, the training was complete and, after final examinations, the cosmonaut team commander, the indomitable Nikolai Kamanin, advised them that they had been commissioned as junior lieutenants in the Air Force. On 19 November, the final selections were made. Ponomaryova scored the highest, but, interestingly, it is said that she did not offer the “proper” replies to the examiners’ questions.

Valentina Tereshkova (right) trains for her Vostok duties in the months before launch. The woman to the left of the image is usually identified as Tatiana Kunetsova, although in a 2005 interview Tereshkova disputed this and claimed that she was a parachutist medic. Photo Credit: Roscosmos

“What do you want from life?” was one such query.

“I want to take everything it can offer,” came Ponomaryova’s response.

Not a good socialist response, it would appear. Valentina Tereshkova, on the other hand, spoke of her ambition “to support irrevocably the Communist Party,” and it has been suggested over the years that these words contributed greatly to her selection as the first woman in space. Years later, Ponomaryova suspected that her smoking habit, her aggressively feminist stance, and her failure to vocally support the Communist Party was frowned upon by the selection board. Yet there was something else which marked Tereshkova for greatness. She was an enthusiastic pilot and a good parachutist, but it was not just her careful replies to questions, or even her membership of the Young Communist League, which endeared her to Nikita Khrushchev. It was her humble background—for she was a seamstress; an ordinary factory worker. Tereshkova represented the plain Russian girl who would enable him to cynically declare that, under Communism, anyone could fly a rocket into space. She had the common touch.

Even decades after her flight, Valentina Tereshkova (right) remains a giant in the annals of space exploration. She is pictured in December 2010 with U.S. astronaut Catherine “Cady” Coleman, shortly before the latter was launched on a long-duration mission to the International Space Station. Photo Credit: NASA/Mike Fossum.

Nikolai Kamanin, too, favoured Tereshkova as the prime candidate for the mission, with Irina Solovyeva—an accomplished master parachutist with 800 jumps—as her backup and Ponomaryova and Zhana Yerkina as “options” for later flights. Tatiana Kuznetsova had missed so much training that she did not take the final exams. By the end of 1962, the plan was to send Tereshkova into orbit for three or four days, or perhaps fly two Vostoks, each carrying a woman. Certainly, in February 1963, the most likely outcome seemed to involve two women, launched 24 hours apart in the March-April period. Everything changed on 21 March, when the Central Committee opted to fly a male cosmonaut, Valeri Bykovsky, aboard Vostok 5, followed by Tereshkova aboard Vostok 6. Bykovsky’s mission would establish a new world record of between five and seven days in space.

Still, there was opposition to flying one woman, rather than two, particularly from the Soviet Air Force, which felt that there was insufficient time to train Bykovsky for his mission. Moreover, the shelf life of the Vostok hardware expired in July 1963, demanding a spring or early summer launch, and efforts to authorise the production of 10 more spacecraft had gone nowhere. The Ministry of Defence categorically rejected the building of more Vostoks, and it was decided that the Bykovsky-Tereshkova flights would be the last in the series. Moreover, the inclusion of Bykovsky at such short notice meant that the flight would be unavoidably postponed until early June. In his famous diaries, Nikolai Kamanin fumed that months of training had been wasted to produce four fully qualified female cosmonauts … and only one would get to fly.

That “one,” of course, was Valentina Vladimirovna Tereshkova, whose background offered the perfect socialist upbringing which Khrushchev wanted the outside world to see. Her father, a tractor driver, had fought in the Russian Army as a sergeant and tank commander, dying in the Finnish Winter War in 1939, when Tereshkova was 2 years old. (Today, a monument stands in Lemetti, on the Russian side of the Finnish border, to commemorate Vladimir Tereshkov.) In the hard times which followed, Tereshkova’s mother single-handedly raised three children, whilst working at the Krasny Perekop cotton mill. For her part, Tereshkova did not begin formal schooling until she was 10 years old and, as a worker, made coats, served as an apprentice in a tyre factory, and finally joined her mother and sister in 1955 as a loom operator. However, she continued her academic studies and completed the Light Industry Technical School.

A long interest in aviation culminated in membership of the Yaroslavl Air Sports Club, and she made her first parachute jump at the age of 22. By the time of her selection as a cosmonaut, Tereshkova had logged 126 jumps … but her family knew nothing of her plans. Even her mother was under the impression that she was undertaking “special studies” for a women’s precision skydiving team. In fact, the first that she knew about her daughter’s accomplishment was on the day of her launch, via Radio Moscow. Years later, in an interview with an American publication, Tereshkova summed up her suitably feminine attributes and modesty. “I strongly feel that no work done by a woman in the field of science or culture,” she said, “can enter into conflict with her ancient, wonderful mission to love and be loved and her craving for the bliss of motherhood.” This attitude was matched by her determination. According to Yuri Gagarin, she tackled her job stubbornly and with tenacity, poring over books and training materials in her spare time. For Nikita Khrushchev, she was the perfect candidate … and on the mission itself she would embark on the greatest challenge of her life.

The training of Valeri Bykovsky and his backup, Boris Volynov, was nearing completion, although Kamanin noted in his diary that both men needed to complete several more parachute jumps and training simulations in the Vostok craft. This pushed the launch of the joint mission to somewhere between 5-15 June. When the State Commission convened on the 4th, wind speeds at the Baikonur launch site were too high and a failed radio command line enforced additional delays. Solar flare activity also put paid to another effort to get Vostok 5 into orbit on the 10th. At length, Bykovsky thundered into orbit on the 14th, coinciding neatly with a visit to Moscow by future British Prime Minister Harold Wilson. Whilst there, Wilson asked Khrushchev how many cosmonauts were in space this time.

With a glint in his eye, Khrushchev could not help himself. “Only one,” he replied, gleefully, “so far!”


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Odp: [Discover] The Forgotten Female Cosmonaut Class
« Odpowiedź #3 dnia: Październik 05, 2019, 20:54 »
'On the Edge': The Legacy of Valentina Tereshkova
By Ben Evans, on June 9th, 2013 [AS]

By the summer of 1963, the Soviets had launched the world’s first man in space (Yuri Gagarin) and its first woman in space (Valentina Tereshkova). For an image-conscious Soviet leadership, these achievements were exploited for the political advantages which they afforded. Photo Credit: Roscosmos

It is a quirk of historical coincidence that both the Soviet Union, the United States, and China sent their pioneering women into the heavens at exactly the same time, in mid-June. On 16 June 2012, Liu Yang became China’s first woman in space. On 18 June 1983, Sally Ride became America’s first woman in space. And on 16 June 1963—five decades ago this month—an “ordinary” Russian textile worker-turned-pilot named Valentina Tereshkova accomplished something quite “extraordinary” and roared into orbit aboard Vostok-6. For Premier Nikita Khrushchev, her flight was a triumph for Communism: it showed the world that in a socialist state women were equal to men and were encouraged to reach for the stars. The reality, though, was that Tereshkova’s three days in space were nothing more than a political stunt to upstage the Americans, and to underline this insincerity no more Soviet women would enter space until 1982. Yet the greatest achievement of Tereshkova’s mission is that it laid the foundation stone for the dreams of millions of girls and young women who would go on to carve their own niches in the annals of space history.

“History,” of course, is frequently at the whim of those who write it. Tereshkova was a staunch Communist with a war-hero father, and these two factors certainly played into her selection. Additionally, she proved herself to be a hard worker, an accomplished parachutist, and spoke appropriately. “Soviet women have had the same prerogatives and rights as men,” she once said. “They share the same tasks. They are workers, navigators, chemists, aviators, engineers, and now the nation has selected me for the honour of being a cosmonaut.” In the West, many observers agreed. The wife of Philip Hart, the Democratic senator for Michigan, saw Tereshkova’s flight as an opportunity which was barred to American women, whilst anthropologist Margaret Mead remarked that “the Russians treat men and women interchangeably. We treat men and women differently.”

Others were not so easily hoodwinked, but on the morning of 16 June 1963 it was clear to many radio enthusiasts in the West that something extraordinary was about to happen. Tereshkova was launched at 12:29 p.m. Moscow Time. Her liftoff, she reported, was “excellent” and her adaptation to weightlessness did not seem problematic. Already in space was a male cosmonaut, Valeri Bykovsky, aboard Vostok 5, and Tereshkova’s orbital parameters were such that the two craft could draw toward each other for a few minutes, twice daily, with a closest approach of about three miles. Within hours of launch, she was in radio communication with Bykovsky … but on the second day of her flight ground controllers experienced difficulties contacting her. It seemed that she was either tuned to the wrong reception channel or there was a problem with her receiver, but on the evening of 17 June the Enköping station in Sweden picked up a message from Tereshkova, in which she said that she felt “fine” and all was well.

Valentina Tereshkova’s flight paved the way for many other female achievements, including the first flight to include three women, STS-40, in June 1991. Photo Credit: NASA

In his now-famous diary, Nikolai Kamanin, the commander of the cosmonaut team at the time, wrote that Tereshkova’s communications were good. At one stage, Bykovsky even reported that his female counterpart was singing songs to him. Tereshkova’s televised image was broadcast throughout the Soviet Union and she spoke to Khrushchev and undertook most of her scientific experiments, recording images of land and cloud cover and describing Earth’s horizon as “a light blue, beautiful band.”

Reports soon emerged that the gamble of flying an “ordinary” Russian girl—albeit one with over a hundred parachute jumps to her credit—was not entirely successful. Accounts of the mission indicated that Tereshkova was unwell during the early part of her flight and she appeared tired and weak in her televised images. She reported nagging pains in her right shin, pressure points from the helmet on her shoulder and left ear, and irritation from the biomedical sensors on her headband. In fact, both she and Bykovsky recommended that future cosmonauts would be more comfortable if permitted to remove their space suits during missions. This suggestion proved ironic on the next mission, in October 1964, when three men flew without any space suit protection whatsoever. …

For Sergei Korolev (right), the Chief Designer of the OKB-1 design bureau, the idea of flying a woman into space was an exclusively political stunt to curry favour from Premier Nikita Khrushchev. Photo Credit: Roscosmos

On a practical level, Tereshkova noted that flannels were too small and not moist enough to wash her face, there was no provision to clean her teeth, and she reported that she only ate a little more than half of her food supply. (This could not be confirmed because she apparently gave away the remainder of her food to onlookers at the landing site.) Conditions aboard Bykovsky’s Vostok 5 were even more unpleasant. He experienced an undisclosed problem with his waste management system—possibly a spillage—and the fan of his space suit’s oxygen supply tended to cut off whenever he released himself from his seat.

After three days aloft, on the morning of 19 June, the retrofire command was sent to Vostok 6 and executed satisfactorily. For some reason, Tereshkova did not call out each event, as required, and she reported neither a successful solar orientation or the progress of the retrofire or even the jettisoning of her craft’s instrument section. In fact, the only data which reached the control centre was downlinked telemetry. The world’s first female cosmonaut ejected on time, but apparently broke a mission rule by opening her visor and gazing upwards … only to be hit in the face by a small piece of metal. In the violently gusting wind, Tereshkova landed at 11:20 a.m. Moscow Time. Kind locals offered her fermented milk, cheese, flat cakes, and bread—a welcome relief from the bland fare of the past three days—but this ruined the flight doctors’ chances of properly analysing her dietary intake. Three hours after Tereshkova’s landing, Bykovsky also touched down safely.

Undoubtedly, the achievement of Valentina Tereshkova inspired millions of girls and young women all over the world … including Peggy Whitson, who became the first female commander of the International Space Station and was, until last year, the chief of NASA’s astronaut corps. Photo Credit: NASA

Both were record-holders. Bykovsky had spent nearly five days in orbit, and even in 2012 he retains the record for having spent the longest period of time in space alone. Tereshkova’s 48 orbits and 70 hours aloft soundly surpassed all six Project Mercury missions, combined, and Nikita Khrushchev loved it. He proudly paraded her in Red Square and on 3 November 1963 gave her away at her marriage to fellow cosmonaut Andrian Nikolayev at the Moscow Wedding Palace. The real attitude of many cosmonauts toward the women in space came from Nikolayev himself. “We love our women very much,” he once said. “We spare them as much as possible. In the future, they will surely work on board space stations, but as specialists—as doctors, as geologists, as astronomers, and, of course, as stewardesses!”

Whatever Tereshkova’s own opinions, she became an instant celebrity. Tours of India, Pakistan, Mexico, the United States, Cuba, Poland, and Bulgaria opened her eyes to a wider world. She received the coveted Hero of the Soviet Union accolade, together with the Order of Lenin and the Gold Star Medal. After her marriage, a daughter—Yelena—was born to the couple in June 1964, becoming the first child whose parents had both flown into space, but Nikolayev and Tereshkova were not even living together by the end of that year. They divorced in 1982. To this day, speculation endures as to whether their union represented a genuine match or a cynical ploy, engineered by Khrushchev.

This year marks the 50th anniversary of Valentina Tereshkova’s pioneering flight … and it is fitting that a woman will be aboard the International Space Station at the time. NASA’s Karen Nyberg (left) is here pictured during training with Russian cosmonaut Fyodor Yurchikhin and Italian astronaut Luca Parmitano. The trio were launched into space on 28 May and will remain aloft until mid-November. Photo Credit: NASA

As for poor performance, Tereshkova has always argued against such allegations. Chief Designer Sergei Korolev had muttered under his breath that he would never deal with “broads” again, but at a private interview with her on 11 July 1963 he expressed severe displeasure with her performance. Korolev’s deputy, Vasili Mishin, shared his sentiment, claiming that Tereshkova had been “on the edge of psychological instability.” Two decades passed before another female cosmonaut, Svetlana Savitskaya, entered space, and even that was partly as a Soviet hedge against the upcoming flight of America’s Sally Ride.

Several years ago, in 2004, it was revealed that an error in Vostok 6’s control software had been identified and corrected by Tereshkova, although this fact went unacknowledged for decades. She remained an “honorific” member of the cosmonaut team and graduated in 1969 from the Zhukovsky Air Force Academy as an engineer, but she never received another mission assignment. For Korolev, the entire programme of putting a woman into space was a means of currying favour with Khrushchev: giving him another propaganda coup to beat the Americans, in exchange for signing off plans for the “real” space programme to continue. That space programme centred on an entirely new space vehicle, the Soyuz, whose descendants continue to transport astronauts and cosmonauts to the International Space Station. Aside from being a historic event in its own right, Valentina Tereshkova’s achievement served two purposes: it inspired a generation of young women and also helped to enable the development of a craft which has outlived Apollo and the shuttle, and upon which the International Space Station and its partners continue to depend for operational access to low-Earth orbit.