Sunday, June 16, 1963: First woman in space
From June 16 to 19, Valentina Vladimiorvna Tereshkova became the first woman to fly in space. Tereshkova was born on March 6, 1937, in the Soviet village of Masslenikovo. Her parents worked on a collective farm, but her father was killed during World War II. While working at a textile mill at the age of 18, she took correspondence courses from an industrial school and joined a club for parachutists, making over 150 jumps. Shortly after the flight of cosmonaut Gherman Titov in September 1961 she wrote a letter to the space center volunteering for the cosmonaut team. Unknown to her, Soviet space officials were considering the selection of a group of women parachutists. In December 1961 Tereshkova was invited to Moscow for an interview and medical examination. The following March she reported with three other women to the Soviet Space Center at Star City. In May 1963, Tereshkova and Tatyana Torchillova were chosen to train for the Vostok 6 flight. On June 16, 1963, Tereshkova was launched into orbit and made 48 revolutions around the earth in a 70-hour 50-minute spaceflight. Tereshkova parachuted from the Vostok 6 after re-entering the Earth’s atmosphere and landed about 612 km (380 miles) northeast of Karaganda, Kazakhstan, in central Asia.
— Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum