50 years ago the first woman-cosmonaut flew into space and the second joint flight of two manned spacecraft took place

Fifty years ago the first space flight of a woman-cosmonaut in the history of Earth civilization, a citizen of our country Valentina Vladimirovna Tereshkova, was carried out. The flight was carried out in low Earth orbit onboard a single-seater manned spacecraft Vostok-6, made by the Special Design Bureau No.1 (now known as RSC Energia) under the direction of S.P. Korolev, just as were all the other Vostok-series spacecraft, the first manned spacecraft in our country. The spacecraft was put into orbit on June 16, 1963, by Vostok launch vehicle, also developed at the Special Design Bureau No.1. Cosmonaut V.V. Tereshkova (call sign "Chaika" ("Seagull")) and the descent vehicle of the spacecraft successfully landed on June 19, 1963, at 11:20 Moscow Standard Time at its designated landing area located 620 km to the north-east of Karaganda (in Altai province).

The mission took place two years and two months after Y.A. Gagarin accomplished his mission onboard Vostok-6 spacecraft. It demonstrated the feasibility of women-cosmonauts living in space onboard a spacecraft, obtained the first unique and important practicable results, which became the basis for training and carrying out the missions of women cosmonauts and astronauts years later.

The flight of Vostok-6 with V.V. Tereshkova onboard was carried out within the framework of the program of joint missions of two manned one-seater spacecraft of the Vostok type. This program was proposed by S.P. Korolev and was conducted under his direction. There have been two joint missions under this program. Vostok-6 was carrying out the second joint flight under this program flying together with Vostok-5, launched on June 14, 1963, with pilot-cosmonaut Valery Fyodorovich Bykovsky onboard. Cosmonaut V.F. Bykovsky (call sign "Yastreb" ("Hawk")) and the descent vehicle of the spacecraft Vostok-5 successfully landed on June 19, 1963, at 14:06 Moscow Standard Time at its designated landing area located 540 km to the north-west of Karaganda.

Implementation of the program of joint space missions of Vostok spacecraft afforded the scientists and specialists an opportunity to address the problems of perfect coordination of the launch site services, joint mission control of two spacecraft, in-orbit communications between them and many others that were arising at the early stages of rocket and space technology development.

Dear Valentina Vladimirovna and Valeri Fyodorovich, dear veterans who participated in the work to develop and support the missions of the Vostok-series spacecraft! We congratulate you on this important anniversary in the history of spaceflight! Recognizing your invaluable contribution to the development of manned spaceflight, we wish you robust health, vigor, good spirits, happiness, success, many years of fruitful life, implementation of your new creative plans for the benefit of further advancement of humankind along the road of space research and exploration!

Dear employees and veterans o RSC Energia and its subcontractors! We congratulate you also on the anniversary of the great success of our country's space science and technology achieved at the dawn of humankind's space age! We wish you success in your creative efforts aimed at developing Russian spaceflight in the 21st century, in particular, at new achievements in manned spaceflight!


For reference:

  1. The first joint mission of two spacecraft - Vostok-3 and Vostok-4 - took place during the period from August 12 to 15, 1962. Vostok-3 was launched on August 11, the spacecraft commander was pilot-cosmonaut A.G. Nikolaev, the mission duration was about 94 hours. Vostok-4 was launched on August 12, the spacecraft commander was pilot-cosmonaut P.R. Popovich, the mission duration was about 71 hours.
  2. The duration of V.F. Bykovsky's mission (the longest with a single person onboard a spacecraft) was about 119 hours, of V.V. Tereshkova's mission - about 71 hours.
  3. The experience gained in the course of the design effort on the manned spacecraft of the Vostok series, the results from the first joint missions of our country's spacecraft were used in the development of the Voskhod-series spacecraft, and, eventually, in Soyuz-type spacecraft.
  4. 4. The world's second space mission of a woman-cosmonaut was accomplished by a Russian S.Y. Savitskaya during the period from August 19 to 27, 1982 onboard spacecraft Soyuz T-7 (launch) and Soyuz T-5 (landing) with a stay onboard space station Salyut-7, from whence she made the world's first spacewalk by a woman-cosmonaut. The first space mission of a woman who was a citizen of another nation - US citizen S.K. Ride - took place in 1983 onboard Space Shuttle orbiter Challenger (mission STS-7).
  5. Altogether in the world as of June 14, 2013, 56 women have been to space. These include citizens of Russia, USA, Great Britain, France, Canada, China, South Korea, Japan.


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