A Woman Of Strength And Courage

Dublin Life Coach l Coaching And NLP For Confidence And Motivation

As a past student and lover of the Russian language, I’m also very interested in the history of the country.

Not so much the political history, etc, but the stories of people like this super inspirational woman…


Soviet cosmonaut Valentina Tereshkova was the first woman launched to space 50 years ago, aboard “Vostok 6” in June 1963.

Tereshkova’s father was killed during World War II, leaving her mother to raise three children alone.

Valentina didn’t start school until she was 8 and had to leave by 16 to became an apprentice at a tire factory. She later joined her mother at the mill, but continued her education through correspondence courses.

After joining the Yaroslavl Air Sports Club she became interested in parachute jumping.

After Yuri Gagarin became the first man in space in 1961, Tereshkova volunteered for the Soviet space program.

Although she did not have any experience as a pilot, she was accepted into the program because of her 126 parachute jumps! At the time, cosmonauts had to parachute from their capsules seconds before they hit the ground on returning to Earth…

Along with four other women, Tereshkova received 18 months of training, which included tests to determine how she would react to long periods of time being alone, to extreme gravity and zero-gravity conditions.

Of the five women, only Tereshkova went into space.

She was chosen to pilot “Vostok 6”.

She logged more than 70 hours in space and made 48 orbits of Earth.

From day one she suffered from cramps due to the lack of room to move, and strong pain in her shoulders due to the heavy weight of her helmet. She also suffered from vertigo and dizziness, which she hid from her superiors.

An error in the spacecraft’s automatic navigation software caused the ship to move away from Earth. Tereshkova noticed this and Soviet scientists quickly developed a new landing algorithm.

She was catapulted into a lake of frozen water in the Altay region, near today’s Kazakhstan-Mongolia-China border. Upon landing she received a really bad bruise on her face.

Villagers helped her out of her spacesuit and asked her to join them for dinner. She accepted and was later reprimanded for violating the rules and not undergoing medical tests first.

Tereshkova was later honored with the title “Hero of the Soviet Union”. She received the “Order of Lenin” and the “Gold Star Medal”. She became a spokesperson for the Soviet Union, and while fulfilling this role she received the “United Nations Gold Medal of Peace”.

In the year 2000, she received the title “Woman Of The Twentieth Century”.

Tereshkova never flew in space again.

She became a test pilot and instructor, and earned a doctorate in technical sciences.

In 1969 Neil Armstrong was the first man to set foot on the moon.

She never got to the moon, but a crater in the moon now carries her name:

Valentina, which means strength and courage.

“If women can be railroad workers in Russia, why can’t they fly in space?” Valentina Tereshkova

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