Valentina Tereshkova, the Russian seagull
“Hey, sky! Take off your hat, I'm coming!”
On the 16th of July, 1963, Valentina Tereshkova became the first woman to flew in the cosmic space, actually, up until this date, she is still the only woman who has been on a solo space mission.
The former cosmonaut was born in the former USSR, in the Bolshoye Maslennikovo village, at approximately 270 kilometres northeast from Moscow.
She enrolled in school at 10 years old, and after finishing the seventh grade, like many other Russian children in the Soviet Union, at 17 she switched to evening school so that she could work in the daytime; she graduated from the Light Industry Technical School in 1960.
During this time, she became a worker at a tire plant, and afterwards got a job at a weaving factory, but Valentina also became interested in a hobby which will later change the course of her life, parachute jumping. In 1959, at the age of 22, she began skydiving at the local Aeroclub.
After Yuri Gagarin's first male journey into outer space, the next step for the USSR in the Space Race against the USA was sending a Soviet female into space before the Americans.
The potential female cosmonaut had to be a parachutist under 30 years of age, shorter than 170 cm, and with less than 70 kg; 400 candidates were taken into consideration, but after the initial screening, only 58 of those remained, after more and more test, only 5 women were chosen to be part of the female cosmonaut corps.
The space training included all sort of tests such as isolation, centrifuge, thermo-chamber, and piloting.
After an intensive training, at only 26 years old, Valentina Tereshkova, being on the board of Vostok 6 capsule orbited the Earth 48 times in three days.
Valentina paved the way for the women in the space industry, without even thinking that according to the latest research women might actually be better suited to space travel, so ladies, the sky might not be the limit for you!