Russia celebrated Sunday the 50th anniversary of the maiden flight of the first woman in space—a Soviet national hero who went by the call name “Seagull” and captured the imaginations of girls around the world.
Valentina Tereshkova, now a lawmaker for Russia’s ruling party, blasted off in a Vostok-6 spaceship two years after Yuri Gagarin’s historic first manned flight in 1961.
The 76-year-old remains the only women to have ever made a solo flight in space.
“The importance of this event is impossible to overestimate in the history of Russian and world space travel,” Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said in a congratulatory message to Tereshkova.
State television celebrated by running documentaries about Tereshkova’s life while the former cosmonaut herself spent the day commemorating a new space museum in her native region of Yaroslavl.
“You have to love your country—love it so hard that your heart is ready to stop,” Tereshkova said in a documentary aired on Russia’s state rolling news channel.
Soviet authorities in April 1962 had initially whittled down their list to five prospective candidates as they competed against the United States for space supremacy during the Cold War.
Read more at: Phys.org