These two remarkable women have done much for women's
and women's rights. Both come from backgrounds
that could not possibly
be more different. Valentina started school at
8, and stoped her formal
education at 16 to go to work in a soviet factory.
Sally holds four degrees.
Valentina was born in a provincial part of the former
Soviet Union, and Sally
was born in Los Angeles. Yet both have very much
in common, and have
unmatchable achievements to their credit. Read
more below about both
of them, and be sure to watch for upcoming video releases of their
on PBS in 2002, and on future All Planet DVD and Video releases.
The first woman in space was Valentina Tereshkova.
She was the pilot of the USSR's Vostok 6, launched
in 1963. Tereshkova orbited Earth 48 times during
|Cosmonaut Valentina Vladimirovna Tereshkova was born in
the Yaroslavl Region of Russia on March 6, 1937. She began school
in 1945 at eight years old, and at 16 years old, left school
and began working.
Her education thereafter was augmented by correspondence courses.
Valentina's hobby of parachute jumping later led to her selection for
recruitment into the USSR cosmonaut program.
In the provincial town of Yaroslav, she had been working in the
cotton mills. It was here that she she had set up the Textile
Mill Workers' Parachute Club. She was an active and enthusiastic
member of the Communist Party serving as secretary of her local communist
Aside from only having 8 years of formal schooling, Valentina was ideal
candidate material for a cosmonaut.
In 1962, Nikita Khrushchev, Soviet premier at this time, selected
only four women to be trained for the special woman-in-space program.
She left her factory, and became the only one of these first for Female
cosmonauts to ever experienced a space mission.
Valentina boarding the launch vehicle, June 16, 1963
||On June 16, 1963, Valentina took off in the Vostok 6, becoming
the world's the first woman in space.
Vostok 6 completed 48 orbits of Earth during its 70 hour flight,, traveling
about 1,242,800 miles in total.
While in space, Valentina made T.V. broadcasts under her code name
"Seagull." She also communicated via
radio with cosmonaut Valeriy Bykovsky, who was in orbit at the same
time in spacecraft Vostok 5.
Both spacecrafts returned safely to earth on June 9, 1963.
|At the time Valentina made her historic flight, , she was
facing many dangers.
The Space Industry was in its infancy, on-board fires or crashing were
certainly two possible dangers she faced during the mission.
Space sickness is still a constant danger, and it is said Valentina
felt nauseous and disoriented
throughout her flight. Her earlier experience as a parachutist
supposedly helped her in the landing,
although it is said that she did bruised her nose on touchdown.
Valentina was honored with the title "Hero of the Soviet Union" and
is a recipient of the United Nations Gold Medal of Peace.
She never flew again, but she did become a spokesperson for the Soviet
Union and a member of the Duma.
In 1963, Valentina Tereshkova married fellow astronaut Andrian Nikolayev.
Their only child, a daughter named Elena, became quite a subject of
interest in the world medical community, due to the fact that young Elena
is the first child
born to parents who had both been exposed to space.
Elena Nikolayeva is a medical doctor living in Russia, and her mother,
Valentina now lives in retirement in Star City near Moscow.
Valentina and Elena in 1969
||This shot is from the recent All Planet interview
filmed with Dr. Sally Ride at Nasa Ames near San Francisco Calidfornia.
Her interview is part of a new program produced by All Planet that
includes Dr. Ride as America's first woman in space, and the former Soviet
Union's first woman in space - Valentina Tereshkova.
Dr. Sally Ride became the first American woman to orbit Earth when
her mission aboard Challenger in 1983.
Sally Ride was born on May 26, 1951 in Los Angeles, California.
She attended Stanford University where she earned a Bachelor of Arts
degree in English,
a Bachelor of Science degree in Physics, a Masters degree in Physics
and a Ph.D. in physics.
She applied to the US Astronaut Corps after reading an advertisement
in a newspaper.
She entered the US Astronaut Corps in 1978 and completed her training
Both her first and second flights were aboard the Space Shuttle Challenger.
She left NASA in 1987 to teach at Stanford University.
Since 1989, she has been at the University of California at San Diego
as a professor and as head of the California Space Institute.
She has flown on NASA Missions STS-7 and STS-43G
and has logged more than 343 hours in space.
|Dr. Ride was selected as an astronaut candidate by NASA
in January 1978. In August 1979, she completed a 1-year training and evaluation
period, making her eligible for assignment as a mission specialist on future
Space Shuttle flight crews. She subsequently performed as an on-orbit capsule
communicator (CAPCOM) on the STS-2 and STS-3 missions.
Dr. Ride was a mission specialist on STS-7, which launched from Kennedy
Space Center, Florida, on June 18, 1983. She was accompanied by Captain
Robert L. Crippen (spacecraft commander), Captain Frederick H. Hauck (pilot),
and fellow mission specialists Colonel John M. Fabian and Dr. Norman E.
Thagard. This was the second flight for the Orbiter Challenger and the
first mission with a 5-person crew. During the mission, the STS-7 crew
deployed satellites for Canada (ANIK C-2) and Indonesia (PALAPA B-1); operated
the Canadian-built Remote Manipulator System (RMS) to perform the first
deployment and retrieval exercise with the Shuttle Pallet Satellite
(SPAS-01); conducted the first formation flying of the orbiter with
a free-flying satellite (SPAS-01); carried and operated the first U.S./German
cooperative materials science payload (OSTA-2); and operated the Continuous
Flow Electrophoresis System (CFES) and the Monodisperse Latex Reactor (MLR)
experiments, in addition to activating seven Getaway Specials. Mission
duration was 147 hours before landing on a lakebed runway at Edwards Air
Force Base, California, on June 24, 1983.
Dr. Ride served as a mission specialist on STS 41-G, which launched
from Kennedy Space Center, Florida, on October 5, 1984. This was the largest
crew to fly to date and included Captain Robert L. Crippen (spacecraft
commander), Captain Jon A. McBride (pilot), fellow mission specialists,
Dr. Kathryn D. Sullivan and Commander David C. Leestma, as well as two
payloads specialists, Commander Marc Garneau and Mr. Paul Scully-Power.
Their 8-day mission deployed the Earth Radiation Budget Satellite, conducted
scientific observations of the earth with the OSTS-3 pallet and Large Format
Camera, as well as demonstrating potential satellite refueling with an
EVA and associated hydrazine transfer. Mission duration was 197 hours and
concluded with a landing at Kennedy Space Center, Florida, on October 13,
In June 1985 Dr. Ride was assigned to serve as a mission specialist
on STS 61-M. She terminated mission training in January 1986 in order to
serve as a member of the Presidential Commission on the Space Shuttle Challenger
Accident. Upon completion of the investigation she was assigned to NASA
Headquarters as Special Assistant to the Administrator for long range and
Dr. Ride has written a children's book, To Space and Back, describing
her experiences in space, has received the Jefferson Award for Public Service,
and has twice been awarded the National Spaceflight Medal. Two of her latest
books, Voyager: An Adventure to the Edge of the Solar System and The Third
Planet: Exploring the Earth from Space are currently in bookstores. Dr.
Ride is a physicist, and in 1989 joined the faculty at the University of
California, San Diego, as a physics professor. She is also Director of
the California Space Institute, a research institute of the University
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