It is definitely not easy just to be oneself into the vast endlessness of space. But if you can not think of anything better to do than float along the milky way or see the whole of Earth before you, then why not become an astronaut or a cosmonaut like Valentina Tereshkova, the Russian First Lady. She was the first woman to reach for the stars and found herself in space. BragSocial today is here to introduce you the Seagull in Space, Valentina Tereshkova.
The biography of Valentina Tereshkova would read a little like a fairy tale. A Soviet Cinderella. A girl from a family struggling to meet both ends, from a remote province rocketed to such heights that only the stars were above her. The glass slipper of the first woman cosmonaut was the Vostok Six Spacecraft. She tried it on for the first time in June 1963. It immediately elevated her to the Soviet Elite. Her official callsign was “Seagull”. Little did she know that the name was to stay with Valentina forever. Long after her triumph, it still follows her around the world. Valentina might never have made it. She was not at the top of the shortlisted candidates. However, eventually she did blast off clamoring triumphantly.
She traveled forty-nine times around the Earth and saw forty-seven sunrises. In total, she clocked in nearly two million kilometers. The downside to this is that she had to spend the whole time in a two meter capsule. But why would a young woman from a small town on the Volga River want so desperately to get shot into space? Maybe because she wanted to get as far away as possible.
The Seasonings Of Childhood Life
She was born and brought up in a family from a small country village. Her mother Yelena was a milkmaid and Vladimir, her father, was a tractor driver. The family heard of his death in war when Valentina was less than three years old. She belonged to the generation of the children of the war. She was well aware of the grief and hardships of the war. After the war, the family moved to Yaroslavl where she studied until seventh grade. Afterwards, in her teenage she went to work. First in a tire factory and later, in a weaving mill. She also went to night school and received training as a technician. Moreover, she received diploma in 1960.
Of course this line of work was not that exciting for this young woman full of dreams. So in order to escalate her everyday routine, Valentina Tereshkova began a rather daring hobby- skydiving. This would bring her one step closer to the stars. Later, she joined the local trade School and also local Parachute Club.
How it all began?
The journey of Valentina Tereshkova into space took off from parachuting. She made her first jump on May 21st 1969. The first jump is indeed special and gives you a chance to overcome your fears. In a sport as this, one can not really stop after making the first jump. Although Tereshkova did not really achieve particularly good grades for jumps. She averaged just four or even three out of five.
The idea of sending a women into space is attributed with the then Air Force Vice Commander. The criteria for women recruitment highlighted women aged up to thirty, height up to hundred and seventy centimeters, weight up to seventy kilograms, no less than two hundred hours flying time or fifty parachute jumps. When selection began, Valentina already had a good score. Ninety jumps and also another advantage of being a head of the local Communist Youth Party. At that time, the space expedition only considered the most ideologically minded of people.
The war between the US and the USSR was at its peak. Russia was trying to move heaven and earth, so as to establish itself in the space realm. It was determined to send a woman into Space when US could not even manage a man. Valentina had this opportunity by luck of the draw. It was as if the ship of her journey had already sailed and she was bound to get on it. It was scripted by the Universe and then began her dauntless expedition.
The Space Ultimatum
The Cold War was at the peak. Both the US and the USSR were always trying to prove that their political system was best and everything concerning space was highly classified. A small team of women was brought together within the all-male cosmonaut department. Tereshkova did everything she could. Undeterred by the hardships of life, she left no stone unturned to avoid being discharged from the Space Program.
12th of March 1962 witnessed official formation of the team of the women. A total of five were shortlisted out of five-thousand candidates. All of them had to undergo extensive preparation including physical training which was exactly the same as for men. Doctors witnessed every training session very closely. They could not agree amongst themselves that if the anatomy of the woman’s body could withstand the intense forces of blast off, the weightlessness, or the stress of returning from orbit. Try imagining being thrown into centrifuges with twelve times gravity pulling on you as your body gets spun around. Then those isolation cells with no sense of time, no contact with other beings are nothing short of a nightmare. However, Valentina did what she had to do to become a cosmonaut.
The 15th of June 1963, twenty four hours before Tereshkova was to fly in space, the doctors claimed that she looked pale and seemingly agitated. However, the snapshots of June 16th went all across the world. The spacecraft of Tereshkova launched with nothing untoward. She exclaimed, “Hey Sky, Take off your hat, I am on my way.”
To everyone’s surprise, Tereshkova could not operate the spacecraft manually. Today, she claims that it was because of an engineering fault. When she was supposed to land, instead of descending from orbit, the ship was programmed to ascend. She entered the data from Earth into the program and achieved safe landing. At that time, the first Soviet Union women in space could not afford mistakes nor to reveal any weakness. She was a legend even before leaving the ground.
The Landing of Fortune
The first female cosmonaut landing was far from smooth. The moment she landed, the locals immediately surrounded her. She took the food offered to her by the people and gave them hers. She was however not supposed to do that because the food consumption was to be assessed. This spur-of-the-moment behavior was a minor detail. Above all, she had returned alive. Her journey was a slap on the face of everyone who considered that a woman is not capable of certain things. She showed them its just will.
No Reason To Look Back
As of now, Tereshkova has no time to spare in her regular working day. She is a member of the State Duma. She went into space just once, but she will always be the first woman in space, a fact confirmed by every encyclopedia and internet search engine. Tereshkova still dreams today. Now she is ready to join an expedition to Mars, her favorite planet, even though it would be a one-way trip.
The Space has been her life, in fact the Space gave her a life, and she can not imagine living any other. It was in space that she experienced those three days more than many us do in three or even thirty years. The journey of the seagull in space tells you to not stand on the sidelines of life. Let your dreams and aspirations reach far beyond the space.