Born on March 6, 1937, Valentina Tereshkova would go on to become the first woman in space. The daughter of a Russian war hero and a dedicated, hard-working single mother, Valentina took an interest in skydiving and parachuting at an early age. It was her expertise in these skills that led her to being selected to join the female cosmonaut corps in 1962. After extensive training, Tereshkova successfully piloted the Vostok 6 on June 16, 1963 to become the first woman in space (a feat not repeated until 19 years later when fellow cosmonaut Svetlana Savitskaya flew aboard the Soyuz T-7). Even after this momentous achievement, Tereshkova did not rest on her laurels. She went on to earn her doctorate in engineering, served as a member of the Supreme Soviet of the Soviet Union, Presidium of the Supreme Soviet, and the Central Committee of the Communist Party. With honors and awards too numerous to even begin to list, Valentina is truly an important figure in women's history.
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This entry is part of MPL's National Women's History Month.