Valentina Tereshkova Facts

Valentina Tereshkova is an icon of space exploration and the adventurous spirit.

She was the first woman in space and a true pioneer who carved her name in history books.

Her journey from being a factory worker to becoming an astronaut inspires hope and courage in millions around the globe.

Tereshkova has proven that with sheer bravery and effort, one can reach heights they would have never otherwise thought possible.

The world has been entranced by her story since she became the first female cosmonaut in 1963, making it finally possible for women to soar through the cosmos.

Her steely determination to become greater than what limits were put on her led to numerous successes throughout her challenging career.

She set the gold standard for space exploration and serves as a symbol of human progress and perseverance.

Quick Navigation

Valentina Tereshkova Facts for Kids

  • Valentina Tereshkova was the first woman in space.
  • She flew on the Vostok 6 mission in 1963.
  • Tereshkova was 26 years old when she flew.
  • She orbited Earth 48 times in three days.
  • Tereshkova was a Russian pilot and politician.
  • She was awarded the Order of Lenin and Hero of the Soviet Union.


  • Valentina Tereshkova was born on March 6th, 1937, in Bolshoye Maslennikovo, Russia
  • She was the first woman in space, flying on the Vostok 6 mission in 1963 at the age of 26
  • During the mission, she orbited Earth 48 times in three days
  • Tereshkova was a Russian pilot and politician who graduated from the Zhukovsky Air Force Engineering Academy in 1969
  • She was married to Andriyan Nikolayev from 1963 to 1982 and later to Yuli Shaposhnikov from 1982 until his death in 1999
  • Tereshkova was awarded the Order of Lenin and the Order of the Red Banner of Labour for her service
  • She has two siblings, Vladimir and Ludmila

Early Life

It was a time of exploration and discovery, and Valentina Tereshkova was determined to make her mark. Born into poverty, she worked hard to rise above her circumstances, joined the Communist Party, and became an enthusiastic parachuter.

After Yury Gagarin’s success as the first person to fly into space, she was motivated to take on the challenge herself.

She made history by becoming one of five women chosen for training in the Soviet Union’s space program. With drive, courage, and brains – she became the first woman in space and won worldwide adoration with her pioneering mission aboard Vostok 6.

That spirited spirit is something we can all learn from – it takes great intelligence and imagination to push boundaries – whether they’re physical or mental – and hers has inspired generations.


When Yuri Gagarin broke the barrier as the first human to journey into outer space, a new era dawned; and no one was quite sure what to expect.

But one woman volunteered for the mission without hesitation—Valentina Tereshkova. She had no prior piloting experience, but her 126 previous parachute jumps qualified her, and she was accepted.

Her training included 18 months of tests and intense preparations for long periods of solitude, extreme gravity, and zero-gravity conditions.

Out of five trained women, Tereshkova was selected as the sole pilot for Vostok 6. Its planned dual orbit mission brought it within merely 3 miles of its comrade in space, Vostok 5, piloted by cosmonaut Valery Bykovsky whose launch preceded hers by two days.

The two communicated via radio as they marveled at each other’s smiling faces on their television screens back on Earth.

What viewers didn’t know is that Tereshkova’s flight almost ended in tragedy—a fact kept secret for nearly four decades!

Despite the risks, Tereshkova logged over 70 hours in space and completed 48 orbits before eventually returning safely home.

Crisis Narrowly Averted

Completing her mission in defiance of a technical error, cosmonaut Valentina Tereshkova astounded the world by becoming the first-ever female space traveler.

On completion of this final phase, she crash-landed near today’s Kazakhstan-Mongolia-China border, where awe-inspired villagers showed hospitality by inviting her to dinner.

In recognition of her historic feat, the Soviet Union appropriately awarded Tereshkova with exceptional honors, including being given the title Hero Of The Soviet Union and the Order Of Lenin. Her celebrity status further flourished when she received the United Nations Gold medal of Peace and was appointed as a spokesperson for the USSR.

She later became a certified test pilot and instructor and fulfilled her duty as a pioneer and role model to young women everywhere by graduating with a doctorate in technical sciences- an accomplishment likely not even imaginable before her space odyssey.

On November 3rd, 1963, Tereshkova made history again when she married fellow cosmonaut Andriyan Nikolayev who together had a child – Elena – aptly called ‘The Star Child’ for being one of a kind; this remarkable infant was born to parents both exposed to space!

Surprisingly, Elena went on to pursue medical studies just like her mother, who rocketed into greatness long ago.

Ultimately, though the now iconic cosmonaut never flew in space again after that fateful mission, Tereshkova’s legacy resonates loud throughout our cosmos to this day – an example of courage and perseverance that continues to inspire generations!

The Lasting Legacy of Valentina Tereshkova

Valentina’s extraordinary journey to space resembles a real-life fairytale. After her astounding experience in the depths of the cosmos, she devoted her life to globally-minded causes and made an indelible contribution to humanity – an act that was recognized with the Russian National Award.

Since Valentina, thirty-nine accomplished women have defied gravity and soared beyond Earth’s atmosphere.

But now, private spaceflight is on the horizon with ambitious plans for more diversity in space exploration – which could skyrocket the number of humans in orbit exponentially in no time!

Important Facts and Overview

  • Valentina Tereshkova was a Soviet cosmonaut who took part in the Soviet space program.
  • She was the first woman to travel to space and remains the only person in space to date who was not a professional astronaut.
  • Tereshkova’s space mission, called Vostok 6, lasted for three days in space.
  • She was born Valentina Vladimirovna Tereshkova in 1937 in Russia.
  • Tereshkova’s achievement in space was a significant milestone for women in the field of space exploration.
  • Sally Ride, an American astronaut, became the first American woman in space in 1983, almost 20 years after Tereshkova’s mission.
  • Tereshkova was chosen from more than 400 applicants to participate in the Soviet space program.
  • Prior to her space flight, she had no experience as a pilot.
  • During her three-day mission, Tereshkova orbited the Earth 48 times and conducted various scientific experiments.
  • After completing her space mission, Valentina Tereshkova became the first Russian cosmonaut to be awarded the Order of Lenin, one of the highest state awards in the Soviet Union.
  • After her space flight, Tereshkova became a prominent figure in the Soviet Union and was awarded several honors, including the Order of Lenin and Hero of the Soviet Union.
  • She later became a politician and served as a member of the Soviet and Russian parliaments.
  • Tereshkova’s flight in space paved the way for other women to participate in space missions, and she remains an inspiration for aspiring female astronauts and scientists.